Enduring bases, and Iraq after troop withdrawals

I can’t follow the mass of speculation on the timetable for leaving Iraq, and I don’t think anybody else can either. On the one hand we see continuing large-scale coalition involvement, such as the [largest air assault since 2003](http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1733050,00.html) and [the move of 3500 US troops back into Iraq](http://www.fox6.com/news/national/story.aspx?content_id=6936F2D2-A0A0-456A-8AF4-E4A89C1B9C39&rss=national). On the other hand, Nuri al-Maliki is [talking](http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1781019,00.html) about getting troops out of Iraq by the end of this year.

But that doesn’t matter so much. The real question is what ‘withdrawal’ means. It doesn’t mean abandoning political control of Iraq – that’s something I’ll write about more in a couple of days. But even militarily, it’s unlikely that all foreign troops will leave the country. More likely, the Americans will retreat further into a few small strongholds, retain bases to enhance their regional power. They will keep some control over the Iraqi military with ‘trainers’ and ‘advisers’, and by ensuring that air power and other heavy equipment is kept for the Americans only.

People have been writing about this for some time now. The Iraq Analysis Group has [collected](http://www.iraqanalysis.org/info/364) some of the more prominent, and [Sarah Meyer](http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=MEY20060411&articleId=2257) of GlobalResearch has collated many relevant news reports.

Below the cut, I delve into the ‘enduring bases’ theory, and swerve dangerously close to conspiracy theories. Please, please take this as me collecting my thoughts, and not as a prediction of what will happen….

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heading home

With a bit of luck, I should be able to take a day off work on either Friday or Saturday night, letting me go to Strawberry Fair without falling asleep on the grass. Which should I choose?

[Friday means gothsoc and being awake for strawberry fair. Saturday allows me to drink at/after the fair, and messes up my sleep less]

In the meantime, I’m heading off to Oakham for a couple of days, so you won’t be seeing me until the other end of the week. Enjoy the exams

Also: apologies for my last post; I really didn’t intend it as an attack on anybody, more a general curiosity about why conversations turn that way. Sorry if I offended people!

Now, back to work in an office that is mostly empty, but not quite empty enough for naked dancing

French speakers needed

Is there anybody here who speaks good French, and has some time tonight?

I’m helping my sister write an application for a French university, and we’re in dire need of a good french-speaker to give us a hand proofreading etc.

You’ll win eternal gratitude and many, many drinks.


Police in Iraq

Below the cut is a braindump on what’s going on with police forces in Iraq at the moment, and in particular why they are getting such heavy media coverage right now. I’ve not quite got my head around it, so it’s a splurge more than anything coherent.

[not cross-posted to [IAG](http://www.iraqanalysis.org) until I can make more sense of it all]

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More than 70 people have been arrested in Moscow after activists tried to hold the city’s first gay rights rally, despite a ban on the event


Life beyond the Kambar

There is no Calling in a fortnight’s time. What shall we do instead?

Suggestions so far are:

  1. The boring: find a pub, same as usual
  2. The exciting: gather on castle hill, dance and frolic in the open air
  3. The marginally less boring: congeal in somebody’s room (assuming we can find a willing room-donor living near the town centre)