October 26, 2011
As the US prepares to withdraw its forces from Iraq, the CIA is looking for ways to continue its secret so-called “counterterrorism” and intelligence programs inside the country.
On October 21, President Barack Obama announced that all US forces would withdraw from Iraq by December 31 and “America’s war in Iraq will be over.”
US officials, however, have made it clear that the CIA plans to continue the programs, which have been run by the Joint Special Operations Command and other military organizations for years, in the country.
These programs include different activities such as the deployment of remote sensors that scan the wireless spectrum of terrorist safe havens to stealth US-Iraqi counterterrorism commando teams.
“There are of course parts of the counterterrorism mission that the intelligence community, including CIA, will be able to take on from other organizations-and there are parts of that mission that it won’t,” the Daily Beast quoted one of the US counterterrorism officials speaking on condition of anonymity.
The US and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext that Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction. However, no such weapons were ever found in the country.
There are currently about 4,700 US soldiers deployed in Iraq. According to a 2008 security accord, known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), all US troops are required to leave the country by the end of 2011.
The US appears desperate to maintain its regional presence as it has entered talks with regional allies after negotiations with Iraq for keeping a few thousand troops in the country broke down when Iraqi leaders refused to grant American soldiers and mrcenaries legal immunity.
The US is negotiating with Kuwait about moving some equipment and troops to the Persian Gulf state.
Washington is also holding talks with Turkey about deploying sensitive sensors, drones, and other equipment used in Iraq at the Incirlik airbase, promising to assist the Turkish government in fighting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.