Preface: Considering how it is currently on this sub, I would like to say that I'm posting this just for the sake of discussion. No other agendas intended.
And before getting into any, we must remember that the US already pulled out of Iraq entirely in 2011, only to be invited back in 2014.
Last year, I once had a great opportunity to chat, regarding the current
Middle East crisis, with one of the authors who wrote one of the articles linked below. -- I am intentionally making it vague about who it is with the respect for his privacy. He said, the best gift Trump could have regarding the Iran situation is to be asked to leave Iraq by the Iraqi government.
And this morning, NPR is reporting that the Iraqi Parliament voted to ask the US led international coalition to leave Iraq.
(Although the good ole NPR used the expression "To Expel U.S. Troops From Country," it's in fact the whole international coalition is being asked to leave. -- Edited to Add: The updated NPR article says: Iraqi Parliament Moves to kick out American troops. Go figure.)
And just before this news, Pentagon officials said today Jan 5, 2020, that due to attacks on Iraqi and American bases over the last two months, the US would be suspending support for Iraq's anti-ISIS operations and training Iraqi forces.
The vote probably is a non-binding resolution without the Parliament's actual enforce, but it doesn't mean it won't yield the same end result.
My assessment is that said vote is the Iraqi Parliament's display of support for Iran. -- This could be being pushed by Shia Iraqis for all we know. People often underestimate that since the civil war + the resulting power vacuum arose, how ... machiavellian Iran's entrenchment in the Iraqi politics sphere has been.
If the US indeed leave Iraq, who would be benefited most? -- This is actually a very interesting but complicated question.
Still, my opinion is that this is a risky but right direction. The simple truth is, the US cannot be there forever, and if she choose so, it's simply a bad business in terms of cost efficiency. (Sorry about the wording. Geopolitics is amoral.)
Related Fragmentary Thoughts: (A)
An interesting tidbit is that last Summer (just before 2019 Drone Attack on Saudi oil facilities) many Israeli analysts were saying; Trump would eventually demand something from Israel in return for his uncharacteristic beneficence,
and those analysts believed there will be elements in the possibly upcoming
US' peace plan for the region that will make both Israel & Palestine sides unhappy and that Israel's compromise will be required. (Link to a related article is placed below.) (B)
After said drone attack on Saudi oil facilities, when the current US administration didn't adopt much of military actions in responding to the attack, the article from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace I linked below said this:
"While Trump may be willing to talk with rather than shoot Iranians, Tehran seems to be on a different trajectory. As a result, on both timing and risk-reward calculations, Washington’s and Tehran’s clocks may be out of sync. Trump may be slow rolling a military response to the Aramco strikes, but many experts suggest that Iran is willing to push the envelope.
The prospects for a comprehensive diplomatic resolution of U.S.-Iranian differences are dismal. The reason is simple: Neither side is prepared to make the compromises that would be necessary to achieve a win-win outcome. There is a better possibility, however, that the two countries could reach agreement on a path that would deescalate tensions and mitigate the risks of conflict while deterring further Iranian attacks on critical energy targets and ensuring the unrestricted flow of oil through the waters of the Persian Gulf."
Edited to Add #1:
Jeez... What's happening to internet connection? It seems all of Reddit, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and even Medium were down, all at once, especially in UK. Hope nothing nefarious happened. ಠ_ಠ https://imgur.com/a/KnZ486w
Edited to Add #2:
ABC News is now reporting that Iran abandons nuclear limits after US killing.
But hasn't Iran already enriched uranium past limits, last November? This seems just officialism. Iran really was not in it after the US pulled out, then.
Even last month, Iran was saying they were testing new uranium enrichment centrifuges, which was a clear violation of the 2015 Agreement. Tehran was testing IR-9 centrifuges that convert mined uranium into nuclear fuel, CNN reported.
Not entirely related but, said ABC's reporting made me chuckled, because it's saying that Iran's abandoning nuclear limit is blowback
(from Soleimani’s death). Blowback, huh? They were doing it before Soleimani's got killed, ABC.
(Links to related news articles are placed below, as usual.)
Edited to Add #3:
Today (Jan. 5) at 11:16 AM PST, the Washington Post website published an article and its title is saying "Pompeo dismisses Iraqi leader’s call for all foreign troops to leave.
But if you actually read the article, you'll find the following: (I also placed the link to the article below.)
Pressed by host Chris Wallace on what the United States will do if the Iraqi parliament demands that American troops leave the country, Pompeo declined to say.
“We’ll have to take a look at what we do when the Iraqi leadership and government makes a decision,” he said. “But the American people should know we’ll make the right decision. We will take actions that, frankly, the previously administration refused to take to do just that.”
Democracy dies in darkness, huh?
Edited to Add #4:
Did you know that the top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed together with Soleimani in the Jan 3 airstrike?
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was sentenced to death in absentia in 2007 by a court in Kuwait for his involvement in the 1983 Kuwait bombings. And he was on the US list of designated terrorists.
So this means, the US possibly had an opportunity to play ignorant and claimed: the airstrike was meant for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Soleimani was an unfortunate collateral. -- It could have considerably scaled down inevitable diplomatic tension and as well as, it could have given the US administration some political flexibility after the airstrike.
Of course, probably the US administration didn't think they need to, but still, it got my conspiracy head thinking about so many imaginable scenarios. -_-
Edited to ADD #5:
I'm not sure if you guys would be interested in this. But a well known geopolitical strategist, Peter Zeihan just wrote a blog post regarding the killing of Soleimani. For my taste, he's a tad too ... Republican-ish. Still, here it is. https://zeihan.com/another-round-in-the-middle-east/
"Consider what has happened specifically during the presidency of Donald Trump:
The Iranians shot down a $200ish million dollar recon drone. The Iranians doubled down on their Syrian and Yemeni operations. The Iranians threw a bunch of ordinance at Saudi oil infrastructure, taking more daily oil supply offline than any attack at any time in history. The Iranians deployed forces to crack down on anti-Iranian protests in Iraq. The American response to all of it was the same: nothing.
But when it comes to embassies, the Americans get twitchy. In the aftermath of Iran’s 1979 Revolution, the Iranians seized control of the American embassy in Tehran and held its staff for over a year. In the American mind that singular event is what set the United States and Iran off on their half-century of mutual recrimination and loathing. (The Iranians’ “singular event” occurred somewhat earlier.) In throwing an attack at the Embassy, the Iranians resurrected a bogeyman from America’s past, all but forcing a response.
Two thoughts from this:
First, if the Iranians refuse to just let this go and strike out with the intent of killing US troops, this all goes in a direction pretty horrible for most of the region. The United States no longer has an interest in regional stability. It already has one foot out the door. In any broad anti-Iranian action the US would become the region’s primary cause of instability. Similarly, the Iranians (being an island of Shia in a sea of Sunni) see themselves as the odd men out and have no problem smashing anything that is not theirs. Most everyone would be in the crossfire with Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and especially Iraq suffering the most.
Second, so long as the Americans are gallivanting around sledgehammering all things Iranian, Saudi Arabia is pleased as punch because it means they don’t have to do as much. It would enable Saudi to build up their regional terror networks under the cover of American power. That would get ugly fast, and much uglier later. Never forget that groups like ISIS are de facto Saudi creations designed to first and foremost counter Iranian power. We just got that chapter closed, and we may be about to open another one.
Best guess? Odds are that’s not how this will go. Iran lacks immediate retaliation options and so will have a chance to cool off a bit. Add in the clerical elites’ newfound concerns for their personal hides and most factors point to Iran not egregiously poking the Americans soon. And the Americans still. Want. Out. With every month that passes with no sticks in eyes, more US forces will have redeployed to less sandy pastures."
Jan 5, 2020 -- CJTF-OIR Statement on the ongoing Defeat Daesh Mission https://www.inherentresolve.mil/Releases/News-Releases/Article/2050464/cjtf-oir-statement-on-the-ongoing-defeat-daesh-mission/
Jan 5, 2020 -- Iraqi Parliament Votes To Expel U.S. Troops From Country In Wake Of Soleimani Strike https://www.npr.org/2020/01/05/793746580/iraqi-parliament-votes-to-expel-u-s-troops-from-country-in-wake-of-soleimani-str
Sep 24, 2019 -- How Trump Can Escape His Iran Jam https://carnegieendowment.org/2019/09/24/how-trump-can-escape-his-iran-jam-pub-79912
Aug 29, 2019 -- Trump's Leverage Over Netanyahu https://israelpolicyforum.org/2019/08/29/trumps-leverage-over-netanyahu/
Nov 4, 2019 -- Iran launches more advanced machines to speed up nuclear enrichment: official https://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKBN1XE11Y
Dec 19, 2019 -- Iran is testing new uranium enrichment centrifuges, President Hassan Rouhani says https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/19/middleeast/iran-nuclear-enrichment-rouhani-intl-hnk/index.html
Jan 5, 2020 -- Blowback: Iran abandons nuclear limits after US killing https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/soleimanis-body-arrives-iran-trump-issues-threats-68074424
Jan. 5, 2020 -- Pompeo dismisses Iraqi leader’s call for all foreign troops to leave -- Misleading Title https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pompeo-dismisses-iraqi-leaders-call-for-all-foreign-troops-to-leave/2020/01/05/401dce62-2fc4-11ea-9313-6cba89b1b9fb_story.html
Chances are you’ve heard about Netanyahu’s UN speech where he condemned Hezbollah for using Lebanese civilians as “human shields” by storing weapons within civilian areas and urged the international community to act to “insist” that Hezbollah “stop using Lebanon and Lebanese civilians as human shields.”\
1]) In yesterday’s speech Sayed Nasrallah invited anyone to visit the alleged rocket site \
2]) so both local and foreign media entered that site. \
3]) For those of you who don’t recall, this isn’t the first time such hasbara was used. In the 2006 war when Israel killed at least 1,200 Lebanese civilians \
4]) the Israeli government \
5]) and its propagandists \
6]) alleged that Hezbollah had “hidden themselves and stockpiled their missiles in residential areas” thus “it is [Hezbollah] who are criminally responsible for the "foreseeable" deaths of the civilian shields” while Israel “condemns those practices”\
Despite all these allegations, investigations by human rights organization found no evidence to support this alibi. An exhaustive study by Human Rights Watch “found strong evidence that Hezbollah had stored most of its rockets in bunkers and weapon storage facilities located in uninhabited fields and valleys.”\
8]) and that “Israel’s own firing patterns in Lebanon support the conclusion that Hezbollah fired large numbers of its rockets from tobacco fields, banana, olive and citrus groves, and more remote, unpopulated valleys.”\
9]) Similarly a U.S. War Army College study based largely on interviews with IDF soldiers who fought in the 2006 war concludes that “[t]he key battlefields in the land campaign south of the Litani River were mostly devoid of civilians, and IDF participants consistently report little or no meaningful intermingling of Hezbollah fighters and noncombatants. Nor is there any systematic reporting of Hezbollah using civilians in the combat zone as shields.”\
On the other side, there is ton of evidence to suggest that Israel
is guilty for the use of human shielding. During the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon “Israeli troops made use of civilians as ‘human shields' to protect them when passing through hostile villages.”\
11]) An exhaustive study by the Arab Association of Human Rights about the 2006 war issued the following conclusions:
[The Israeli] Arab towns and villages that suffered the most intensive attacks during the war were the ones that were surrounded by military installations, either on a permanent basis or temporarily during the course of the war. These installations are located at a distance of just 0.5-2 kilometers by air from the civilian community; in some cases the installations are located inside the town or village. Such short distances are within the margin of error of the rockets fired by Hezbollah. During the war, artillery was launched at Lebanon from many of these installations, and particularly from the temporary installations. . . .
Hezbollah declared on several occasions that it was targeting its rockets primarily at military installations inside Israel. Given the findings of the study . . ., there is no reason to doubt that the Arab towns and villages were hit due to their proximity to the adjacent military installations. . . . This assumption is reinforced by the fact that Arab communities that were not surrounded by military installations, including villages close to Israel’s northern border, were not hit by rockets, or suffered a lesser degree of damage. Conversely, communities that were surrounded by military installations were hit by rockets, even when these communities were further removed from the Israeli-Lebanese border. \12])
Even during Israeli “operations” in Gaza, Israeli forces “used civilians, including children, as “human shields”, endangering their lives by forcing them to remain in or near houses which they took over and used as military positions. Some were forced to carry out dangerous tasks such as inspecting properties or objects suspected of being booby-trapped. Soldiers also took position and launched attacks from and around inhabited houses, exposing local residents to the danger of attacks or of being caught in the crossfire.”\
The Jerusalem Post
argues that the U.S. should impose more sanctions on Hezbollah because of its alleged use of shields. \
14]) So, since we should sanction Hezbollah for alleged
use of shields, shouldn’t we also sanction Israel for its long proven history for the use of such tactic? Or would that be anti-Semitic?
 ”Full text of Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the 2020 UN General Assembly” Times of Israel
 ”Nasrallah denies Netanyahu's claims on 'secret' Hezbollah weapons depot” Al-Arabiya
https://twitter.com/UpdatesLebanese/status/1311023204153143299; “Israel’s Prime Minister Says Hezbollah Is Stashing More Explosive Weapons in Beirut” Wall Street Journal.
“We will allow the media to enter…into the facility that Netanyahu talked about so that the entire world discovers his lies.”
Human Rights Watch, “Why They Died”; William Arkin, “Divining Victory” p. 98.
Dershowitz, ”Arbour must go,” Canada.com
Margalit, “Israel: Civilians & Combatants,” New York Review of Books
Human Rights Watch, “Why They Died” p. 40
Ibid, p. 51
Stephen Biddle and Jeffrey A. Friedman, “The 2006 Lebanon Campaign and the Future of Warfare: Implications for army and defense policy” p. 43–45
Blandford, “Warriors of God”
Finkestein, “Knowing Too Much” p. 130-31; “Report: Israeli military installations near Arab villages harmed civilians,”
Amnesty International, “OPERATION ‘CAST LEAD’: 22 Days of death and destruction”
Harikov “Hezbollah missile site revelations could trigger US sanctions”