Barack Obama will have lots of problems to deal with when he takes office in America. The biggest foreign issue is Iraq, but this will in fact be one of the simpler ones to extricate the US from.
The end game in Iraq is approaching and could be over in two years.
The reason for this relates to the most powerful group in Iraq. It's not the US, Al Queda, the insurgents or Iran, it's the Shia population who make up 60% of the population.
The politicians they've elected want the US troops out by 2011 and Obama couldn't do much about that even if he wanted to keep them in Iraq in the long term.
The insurgents in Iraq have killed and seriously injured thousands of US troops since 2003, and they only had the active support of the Sunni community, 20% of the total population.
If the Shia rose up against the occupation the US troops would be driven out in no time.
George Bush had a straightforward plan when he launched his invasion, the US was going to appoint a government (http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0122-06.htm) and they were going to rubber stamp a new constitution described as a 'capitalist's dream' by the Economist (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4417759.stm), which would allow the privatisation of all state companies, including the state oil company.
Then he was hoping that the Iraqis would vote for his yes-men, like Iyad Allawi, in elections after the constitution was enacted.
But when the Shia religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, said the plan wasn't acceptable, the US had to accept what he said.
You would have to be pretty daft to think the Iraqi people would accept this sham arrangement, especially when you recall how George Bush I stabbed the Shia population in the back after the first Gulf War when he allowed Saddam Hussein to kill thousands of them after he urged them to overthrow the dictator.
You would have to be a complete lunatic, like George Bush II, to launch an invasion on the belief that the Iraqi people would accept a US installed constitution and a permanent occupation.
With the Iraqi government wanting the US soldiers out by 2011 Obama will probably let on that he has done a deal with them to bring the boys home, but it won't be his choice, it will be the choice of the Iraqi people.
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