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13 May, 2010 22:55

Many parties benefit from US presence in Iraq - political consultant

A steep escalation of violence in Iraq and difficulties in forming a new government have raised fears that the deadline to cut U.S. forces in the country may be scrapped.

The Pentagon, however , says the planned withdrawal remains on schedule.

Raed Jarar from the anti-war group Peace Action says there will be many in Iraq happy that the U.S. pullout may be delayed.

“There are many parties that are trying to sabotage the Iraqi political process,” said Jarar. “Some of them are actually benefiting from the occupation, like some of the Iraqi ruling parties,” he said.

Raed Jarrar believes that delaying the withdrawal of troops will only encourage more violence.

“The US withdrawal is not linked to the conditions on the ground. There are some forces which are trying to challenge the deadline of the US withdrawal by increasing violence in Iraq and sabotaging the political process. But so far the Obama administration and the Iraqi leadership have been against linking the withdrawal to conditions on the ground,” Jarrar claimed.

“But if the Obama administration actually delays the withdrawal – that would be rewarding these acts of terror and it will embolden them further. I think the best way to pull the rug from under their feet is to go ahead with the withdrawal plan,” he said.

“It is a political suicide in Iraq to say ‘keep the occupation for an additional day’ and I think it is a political suicide in the US as well. President Obama runs on the platform of ending occupation, and I hope he will stick to his promises.”

“Now we’re supposedly going to see 40,000-50,000 troops pulled out in a couple of months, which in one sense would be good to see, because it will put the lie to the claims of the past decade that you can’t have a quick withdrawal of troops,” said author and activist David Swanson.

“It doesn’t fit with law or morality, but it fits with what [Obama] plans to do: to move from Iraq to Afghanistan,” Swanson added.