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Kimmitt: US Troops Contributing to Instability

2.07.2006

Interesting comments from General Mark Kimmitt reported in the Guardian today. In a speech to the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London he outlined briefly some of the US thinking on post-Iraq strategy.

Kimmett conceded that the presence of around 300,000 troops in the region is a destabilising influence and needs to be addressed. He stated that there is no plan to remain in bases in Iraq once the US pulls out

Although he said the US would not keep permanent military bases inside Iraq, Brig Gen Kimmitt made clear it would retain assets and enough forces nearby to protect its interests there.
...
He suggested that the US had learned from past mistakes and that in future it would be "more sensitive to [the] culture" of the people who lived in the Middle East.
...
Brig Gen Kimmitt's speech is the latest indication that the American army is planning significant reductions in its 130,000-strong force in time for the mid-term congressional elections, to be held in November

He also makes some pointed references to focussing on Nation building. Four years after Afghanistan and three after Iraq, the focus is only now turning to the possiblity of nation-building and other forms of civic reconstruction.

His comments are an interesting insight into US Foreign Policy thinking, and his comments on nation building seem to suggest that the US recognises a broader based approach is necessary to promote and cement democratic develpoment in the middle east. Its a little sad that the U.S. has to signal this as a policy turn, since it should have been top of the list from day one.

RR

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