So, now our esteemed leader has decided to declare surrender and retreat from Iraq by year's end. He actually will claim this as a foreign policy victory, a fulfillment of a campaign promise. Why did he do this?
1) First and foremost, to shore up his far left voter base. In spite of being in office for 3 years, he hasn't actually surrendered anything - until now. He's tried, but failed - Iraq, Afghanistan, Gitmo, civilian trials, enhanced surveillance, etc. Got to give the kooks their 'America Last' moment to keep them happy in time for the election next year.
2) A legitimate reason. The Iraqi government's decision not to extend immunity for US troops beyond this year. This is a big deal. If immunity couldn't be guaranteed, any piss ant 'court' in Iraq could charge soldiers for crimes - real or imagined - and throw them in jail. With as much anti-US sentiment as there is in the country (spurred by the Iranians), this would have been a way to embroil US forces in controversy.
What effect will this have? A lot, and in many different ways.
1) Other than the US embassy and 1500-2000 contractors, US military presence in Iraq will be gone. No soldiers, no aviation. If the Iraqis get in trouble, either against insurgents or against Iran, they will be on their own. They are no where near capable of taking care of themselves. Expect Iran to ramp up its efforts to destabilize the government, and for attacks on the government to rise.
2) All the infrastructure the US built will go over to the Iraqis, with no compensation. All the billions of dollars worth of bases and equipment we've poured into the conflict will be given away. What happened to all that oil and oil money compensation we were supposed to get?
3) Plans are currently in the works to reequip the Iraqi armed forces with advanced weaponry, supposedly so they can take care of themselves. State of the art goodies like C-130J transports (equal to the most advanced ones in US service), and F-16 Block 50/52 fighters (superior to ones in US service) are currently on order. It will be interesting to see if these are delivered, and if so who pays for them - Iraq or the US taxpayer. If Iraq falls into a Iran-like theocracy, what happens to that equipment?
4) Huge stockpiles of arms and equipment in use by US forces in country will be left where it is, and default ownership will change to the Iraqis. It would be very interesting to see an inventory of what we end up abandoning there, but of course that won't be made public over fears of the political backlash.
5) Allies and semi-allies in the region, especially Afghanistan, will see this
'commitment' from the US, and realize that they can't count on the US in the long run.Enemies int he area will be emboldened, getting one more historic lesson that tells them all they have to do is wait, and they will win when we run away.
Once upon a time, folks bristled at Iraq being compared to Vietnam. Well, with this master stroke by Obama, the conflict in Iraq comes very close to being a duplicate of Vietnam. Will it fall the same way - a couple of years after the US pulls out, the government collapses and the enemy we spent years, billions of dollars, and thousands of lives trying to defeat ends up winning. The parallels are certainly there, and they extend to the home front. Leftists in the 60s and early 70s wanted more than anything for the US to have its nose bloodied, to be run out of Vietnam as losers. The left now wants the same thing, although its not politically acceptable to attack the troops themselves as it was in the hippie years. Now the plan is to praise the troops in public, while undercutting their efforts behind the scenes.
8 years, almost a trillion dollars, over 4400 lost lives and thousands of others injured or maimed. All of that sacrifice pretty much thrown away by the politically motivated actions of our Coward-in-Chief.