"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tongan terror fighters leave Baghdad

The first deployment of 45 Tongan soldiers from the 450-member Tonga Defense Service arrived in Iraq in June 2004, provided security at Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi, Iraq and they worked under the operational and administrative control of the U.S. 1st Marine Division.

This re-united the 1st Marine Division and the Tongan military who first served together during World War II, when they fought together during the 5 month long Battle of Guadalcanal in the first major offensive launched by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.

The final and fourth deployment was 55 strong and deployed on August 18th last year provide security at the Multinational Force Iraq headquarters at Saddam's extensive and plush Al Faw Palace (The Water Palace) now housing the US military and called Camp Victory, close to Baghdad airport.

The Tongans departed last week, one of the remaining 18 countries of the "Coalition of the Willing" who are shutting down their operations swiftly and heading home before the U.N. mandate that allows them to deploy their forces in Iraq expires on Dec. 31.

They were followed by Azerbaijanis on Wednesday and South Koreans on Monday.

On January 1st only 6 nations will be left, the US the United Kingdom, Australia, El Salvador, Estonia and Romania.

The U.S. will stay on after Dec. 31 because they have a security agreement with the Iraqi Government that calls for a gradual withdrawal of its forces through until 2011. Iraq will treat the remaining 5,500 soldiers from the other five countries as advisers who will help train Iraqi forces and lead humanitarian missions.

The Tongan marines will be replaced by private guards from Uganda who are working for Tennessee based EOD Technology Inc., a U.S. security contractor with US$200MN. revenues in 2007 ...."In basketball terms, we’re a fast break oriented team."

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Nicolas Matern, who’s overseeing the drawdown of forces said Iraqi forces and private security companies will probably fill in for the departing coalition forces across the country.

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