The public and published reason that U.S. military units were pulled out of Iraq is that it became impossible to conclude a status of forces agreement with the Maliki government. One suspects that the overriding reason was that President Obama simply did not want them there. And this seems the more likely explanation since the president is now sending troops – though not many and almost certainly not enough – back into that country with no SOFA agreement. As Eli Lake and Josh Rogin of the Daily Beast report:
President Obama pulled U.S. forces out of Iraq in 2011 because he couldn’t get Iraq’s parliament to offer U.S. soldiers immunity from Iraqi prosecution. But now Obama has promised to send in hundreds of special operations forces before securing even a simple promise that these soldiers will not be tried in Iraq’s famously compromised courts for actions they are taking in defense of Baghdad.
The president has also sent secretary of state, John Kerry, to Baghdad where he will attempt to persuade Maliki to be more inclusive and, perhaps, step aside for someone who might unite the country against the forces of ISIS which have now just about completely taken over Anbar province.
Maliki, meanwhile, has demonstrated his talent for inspirational leadership by threatening deserters from his defeated battalions with death.