U.S. Central Command , Gen. Lloyd Austin: Iraq is not going in the right direction
Commander of the U.S. Central Command in charge of protecting the Middle East, Gen. Lloyd Austin: Iraq is not going in the right direction
Published 15/02/2013 09:18 AM
WASHINGTON – agencies
He Gen. Lloyd Austin, appointed to take over the U.S. Central Command in charge of the Middle East Thursday that the situation in Iraq was “troubling” in light of what this country is witnessing an escalation in the political and sectarian tensions.
And Gen. Ray Austin, who was the last commander of U.S. forces in Iraq before withdrawing at the end of 2011 that the country remained stable but “fragile.”
He said during a confirmation hearing before the Armed Services Committee in the Senate, said “some of the things that we see in Iraq worrying, with the existing tension among Arabs, Sunni and demonstrations.”
In response to a question from Republican Sen. John McCain, who was a vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s policy to withdraw from Iraq, whether this country is his opinion “in the right direction,” replies the officer said no.
When McCain asked him, “Is the situation was different if we kept troops there?” Austin acknowledged that the U.S. military presence had helped the country.
“I think that if we can continue to provide advice and assistance to Iraqis, they would certainly continue to improve.”
The Obama administration has sought to negotiate with Iraq on keeping force there, but the Iraqi government refused to grant U.S. troops on its soil legal immunity.
But McCain and other members of Congress believed that the White House does not have a coordinated effort to reach an agreement in this regard.
Austin said that although there are also concerns some encouraging signs, saying oil production and the performance of Iraqi security forces, which indicated that it remained united despite the political crisis.
He said the security forces “and repeatedly faced challenges on the security front, but remained coherent, still loyal to the civilian leadership, not disintegrate.”
“There if element or elements refer to that if they proceeded to make the right decisions politically, then I think they have a chance to walk in the right direction., But at the moment did not make these decisions, and this is what raises concern.”
Austin responded to questions about Iraq and other hot spots in front of the Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing at the head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. forces deployed in the area that includes the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Iraq has seen during the past few weeks a series of acts of violence, including bombings by car bombs and suicide attacks, raising fears of a return to sectarian violence that bloodied the country between 2005 and 2008.
The recent wave of violence comes against the backdrop of a severe political crisis, with demonstrations taking place in weeks in the Sunni areas against the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanding his departure and the release of detainees from the prison.