While Congress debates (or refuses to debate) a withdrawal timeline for Iraq, most Sunni and Shia Arab parties in the Iraqi parliament are getting nervous at the prospect of losing the protective presence of U.S. troops.
A Sunni-led group called the Iraqi Accord Front has reversed its earlier position, which was for an immediate U.S. withdrawal.
Leaving now, the group says, would shift power to “outlaws” and send Iraq “back to the middle ages.”
[The Associated Press reported today that the “Accordance Front” has since announced its withdrawal from the Iraqi government over failure to disband militias and other security measures.]
Only parliament members allied with Muqtada al-Sadr still advocate for an immediate pull-out, which some analysts attribute to the fact that Sadr’s allies have enough power to overwhelm the weak Iraqi Army and take over.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki seems to disagree with officials in parliament, saying last month that U.S. troops could leave “any time.” An aide rushed to clarify that he meant Iraqi troops should be trained and fortified as U.S. troops withdrew.
“Shia and Sunni MPs fear American withdrawal”
Institute for War & Peace Reporting, July 20, 2007
“Sunni Arab bloc quits Iraqi government”
Associated Press, August 1, 2007