US Exit Leaves Gap at Centres

August 18, 2011

Unless further agreements are reached between Washington and Baghdad, all US troops are set to leave December 31 which will likely increase the number of disputes between Arab and Kurdish forces. Without the US role, conflict may increase in the ethnically mixed areas patrolled by combined Kurdish and Arab Iraqi units.

There are currently three centres that mediate disputes. There will also be an additional need for neutral arbitrators. Lieutenant Colonel Ted Stuart is the head of the Nineveh Combined Coordination Centre and said, “The biggest challenge we face… is who is in charge if the US is not here.” Stuart also worries about who the centre will report to when the American are gone. Things are up in the air unless Washington and Baghdad reach a deal allowing a training mission to stay.

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