Monday, January 10, 2005

How The U.S. Can Salvage Iraq

Robert Malley and Peter Harling of The International Crisis Group explain how to salvage the situation in Iraq in this post from tomorrow's International Herald Tribute. "In Iraq, the United States is engaged in a war it already has lost while losing sight of a struggle in which it still may prevail. Original objectives - a secular, free-market, democratic government close to the United States and a model for the region - are no longer achievable. Worse, their pursuit has become an obstacle to realization of the most important goal: A stable government viewed by its people as a credible embodiment of national interests and able to preserve the country's territorial integrity."

"Militarily, the elimination of insurgents and capture of their strongholds have no durable impact. To the contrary: Resorting to heavy-handed tactics has redoubled the insurgents' motivation and handed them recruits. Politically, little correlation exists between progress along the transition path and progress toward a legitimate government. Largely because the current transition process reflects association between the United States and Iraq's authorities, it no longer is a solution to the crisis but an integral part of it.

A way out still may exist. It requires acknowledging that Iraqis do not want to prolong the existing process but break from it. And it entails embarking on a process of dual disengagement: gradual U.S. political and military disengagement from Iraq and clear Iraqi disengagement from the United States."


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