General Ray Odierno, commanding general of American forces in Iraq, said today, as reported in the New York Times, that he has proposed putting United States troops in disputed parts of northern Iraq to quell increasing violence in the region.

The American troops, according to General Odierno, are necessary because tensions between the Iraqi Army and the Kurds make the region hard to govern. Many towns remain unprotected by any military presence because Iraqis and Kurds dispute who should rule over them. Thus, Al Qaeda has been able to remain strong in the region, launching numerous attacks against villages.

Obama has not yet decided on the troop increase, but this military request is a big test for Obama as commander in chief. U.S. troops pulled out of Iraqi towns and cities on June 30, and for the most part the withdrawal has been hailed as a success by the Obama administration. Now, it looks like the pull-out may not go exactly as planned.

If American troops are entering a new region, then the U.S. appears to be expanding rather than retracting its presence in Iraq.
Obama may be forced to do this out of military necessity, but politically he could be facing a nightmare, if American troops are forced to stay beyond the timetable for withdrawal. After all, the “peace” candidate who said he would’ve kept us out of Iraq, would be breaking his promise to get us out of the conflict.

We will keep an eye on this story for future developments. We could watching the beginning of the unraveling of Obama’s Iraq policy.