February 24, 2012 |
What is the logic behind the Obama administration's policy toward Afghanistan? On its face, it makes no sense. In 2009, President Obama ordered a major buildup of forces to counter alarming gains by the Taliban and the Haqqani network. The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan increased from 34,000 when he took office to nearly 100,000 in 2010. To oversee the buildup he sent two top Army generals, Stanley A. McChrystal and then David H. Petraeus, to design and implement a comprehensive counterinsurgency plan that the president signed off on. In June of last year, however, Obama announced that 32,000 "surge" troops would come home by September 2012 - earlier than Petraeus and his superiors judged prudent.
April 25, 2010 |
After a follower of Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr vowed to dispatch militia members to defend Iraqi mosques in the wake of a series of deadly bombings, a statement from Sadr that was widely distributed Saturday made it clear that the Mahdi Army would be reactivated only if the government accepted the offer. The militia's fighters, who were involved in the bloody sectarian violence of Iraq's civil war, were demobilized in 2008 after major confrontations between Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's government and the armed group.
December 7, 2009 |
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates denied Sunday that President Obama had set an "exit strategy" for Afghanistan, and he forecast that only a "handful" of U.S. troops may leave the country in July 2011, when a withdrawal is due to begin. Gates, appearing on television news programs with other senior U.S. officials, said the Obama administration intended to maintain its commitment to Afghanistan while gradually shifting security responsibilities to the country's central government. "This is a transition," Gates said on ABC's "This Week."
May 11, 2009 |
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Iraqi officials on a visit Sunday to Baghdad that America would need to improve its intelligence in their country after U.S. troops pull out. "If we are going to have a diminished physical military presence, we have to have a strong intelligence presence," Pelosi said after discussions with her Iraqi counterpart and other members of parliament. Pelosi, a strong critic of the U.S.
April 10, 2009 |
Tens of thousands of supporters of an anti-U.S. cleric burned an effigy of former President George W. Bush on Thursday and demanded that U.S. troops leave Iraq, in a rally marking the sixth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad to U.S. forces. Cleric Muqtada Sadr, whose Shiite Muslim militia fought U.S. troops intermittently until a cease-fire was declared last May, had called on Iraqis to turn out for the protest at Firdos Square, where a statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled on April 9, 2003.
February 8, 2009 |
The last Salvadoran troops are home from Iraq, ending Latin America's military presence there. Five Salvadoran soldiers were killed and 20 wounded during the country's five-year deployment. Defense Minister Jorge Alberto Molina and relatives greeted 200 soldiers at an army base outside the capital of San Salvador. They had been based near the southeastern Shiite Muslim city of Kut. President Tony Saca had said El Salvador's troops would leave after the Dec. 31 expiration of a United Nations resolution authorizing the international coalition in Iraq.