Photo: US Army Africa via flickr
Iraqi lawmakers got the greenlight on Tuesday to begin talks to keep U.S. troops in the country past the end of the year to train local forces, according to the AP.These negotiations come at a late stage, however, when cancelling the withdrawal becomes more difficult every day.
Stars and Stripes reports the current pace of the drawdown will be difficult to reverse. Major General Thomas Richardson who oversees logistics for U.S. Forces Iraq says, “There’s a momentum in the process once you start closing sites down … and you start moving troops and contractors out of Iraq.”
Half of the 94 military bases have been evacuated, with another seven closing in August — none of the sites were left with an eye for re-opening them.
Equipment transfer is also speeding up. Until a year ago the U.S. had given Iraq $157 million in excess materiel: vehicles, desks, generators etc., but since September 2010 the U.S. has turned over an additional $257 million worth of equipment.
This free equipment could be one of the reason Iraqi officials are dragging their feet on the deal. The longer they wait, the more bases that will close and the more free equipment they’ll receive.
This means re-equipping U.S. forces will be more costly and more difficult.
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