This Friday President Obama announced that all US troops would be withdrawn from Iraq, effectively ending the Iraq War. Though many news organizations reported on the president’s announcement, CNN was the only one to acknowledge any role WikiLeaks may have had in the decision, stating “negotiations were strained” following the release of a particular diplomatic cable.
Despite 31 December 2011 being established as the date for US withdrawal in the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, negotiation was opened in August of this year for US troops to stay past the original deadline.
It is possible that a WikiLeaks’ revelation aided in the refusal to extend the US military’s stay in Iraq. A cable released on 30 August told of at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including five children, who were handcuffed and executed by US troops. An airstrike was subsequently called in to destroy the evidence. This information caused a huge stir in Iraq, resulting in the investigation on the 2006 raid to be reopened. A Sunni lawmaker commenting on the news report stated that the crime would have impacton signing further contracts to keep US troops in Iraq.
In Obama’s speech, he did not mention why an extension contract was not signed. But, as Huffington Post reports, a major issue for the US was the Iraqi Government’s repeated refusal of immunity to US troops from prosecution in Iraqi courts. [edit: Another article by Associated Press says that the US' demand for immunity was the deal breaker in continued presence in Iraq.]
By withdrawing from Iraq, the Iraqi government is protecting its people from such crimes as these, and the US government is preventing its troops from being prosecuted for the same. Whether or not WikiLeaks played a role in this decision, we can only speculate.