President George Bush is expected to make a policy statement on Iraq today (Wednesday). He has been resisting calls for US troops withdrawal from Iraq saying such a move would send a wrong signal and further embolden the insurgents. But he is likely to soften his stand through his policy statement. He has been saying that the question of disengagement from Iraq will only arise when Iraqis will be able to fend for themselves.
The Iraqis, embracing all ethnic groups -- the Sunnis, Shias and Kurds -- collectively urged America to withdraw the troops. Elections in Iraq are due in December. A new government will be installed thereafter. The principal reason, according to political and military analysts, for the possible change of heart in the White House, is the lurking fear that the Republican Party could face a total rout in the mid-term Congressional polls due next year and conceding majority to Democratic Party.
A statement by the Secretary of State Condi Rice after President Bush returned from his trip to Asia that Iraqi Forces would soon be in a position to take control of the security and law and order situation, was a strong indication that the process of exit from Iraq has been set rolling. The 'It' has replaced 'How fast'. The move to withdraw about 50,000 troops by early next year is already underway according to media reports.
The US military officials argue that beating a hasty retreat forced by domestic political considerations could unleash a violent covil unrest in Iraq. John Murtha, the Democrat Congressman, who had supported President Bush to the hilt when invading Iraq now says the war in Iraq is not sustainable and is not worth the continued butchering. Murtha who is decorated Vietnam war veteran said continuing sending people to their deaths under the prevailing circumstances is a crime of most grievous kind.
Iraqis feel the US troops have failed to restore normalcy. They failed to ensure daily necessities like power, water, security and law and order.
Meanwhile, European Union's bid to make a gift of democracy and freedom to Arab nations has floundered. The United States had made a similar move where some Arab nations expressed annoyance over ' US lecturing us on democracy'.
The EU sponsored summit meeting held in Barcelona last Sunday aimed at selling democracy did not click. The summit was designed to gather all heads of the government from the EU countries, Israel and a dozen of Arab nations including Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Jordon and Morocco. Egypt, Morocco and Algeria stayed away from the summit.
The move known as Barcelona process was initiated by the EU ten years ago. One of the big objectives in Europe right now is close ties with Arab nations, an advisor to Portugal government said. It is important we take joint action on immigration, terrorism and other burning issues, he said. USA did not attend.
Barcelona process was described as an alternative to American approach, which they said is a combination of aggressive diplomacy and military intervention. The summit's goal to issue a common statement on terrorism failed over how to define terrorism. The European Union (EU) diplomats said Arab nations called for definition of terrorism and legitimate resistance to foreign military occupation The progress on creating a regional free trade zone did not make any headway. On immigrations the EU want a tough border control to slow down the flow of Muslims. The Muslim nations demand that the EU open its markets and provide help to create jobs to keep their citizens in their own countries.