U.S. to Hand Iraq a New Timetable on Security Role
By DAVID S. CLOUD
Published: October 22, 2006
WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 — The Bush administration is drafting a timetable for the Iraqi government to address sectarian divisions and assume a larger role in securing the country, senior American officials said.
Details of the blueprint, which is to be presented to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki before the end of the year and would be carried out over the next year and beyond, are still being devised. But the officials said that for the first time Iraq was likely to be asked to agree to a schedule of specific milestones, like disarming sectarian militias, and to a broad set of other political, economic and military benchmarks intended to stabilize the country.
Although the plan would not threaten Mr. Maliki with a withdrawal of American troops, several officials said the Bush administration would consider changes in military strategy and other penalties if Iraq balked at adopting it or failed to meet critical benchmarks within it.
A senior Pentagon official involved in drafting the blueprint said Iraqi officials were being consulted as the plan evolved and would be invited to sign off on the milestones before the end of the year. But he added, “If the Iraqis fail to come back to us on this, we would have to conduct a reassessment” of the American strategy in Iraq.
In a statement issued Saturday night, a White House spokeswoman, Nicole Guillemard, said the Times’s account was “not accurate,” but did not specify what officials found to be inaccurate.
The plan is being formulated by General George W. Casey Jr. and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the top military and civilian officials in Iraq, as well as by Pentagon officials.
General Casey has been in close consultations with the White House as the debate over the way forward in Iraq has intensified in recent weeks. And he and Mr. Khalilzad took part by videoconference on Saturday in a strategy meeting with President Bush and senior administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top American commander in the Middle East, and Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“We’re trying to come up with ways to get the Iraqis to step up to the plate, to push them along, because the time is coming,” a senior administration official said. “We can’t be there forever.”
Disarm the militias? How? They have totally infilitrated the military and police. They are the power behind the throne. He can no more disarm them than Bush can endorse gay marriage.
If he tries, they will kill him and his American guards, in the Green Zone. Bush is frighteningly detached from reality here. Maliki serves not one day longer than Sadr and Sistani wants them to. There is no Iraqi state, no reason for Iraqis to step up beyond their own personal motivation. Bush is literally asking the impossible and all the sloganeering or time tables won't solve that.
The only thing to do is to talk to the clerics to plan a peaceful exit over the next few months. The Iraqi civil war is going to blow up, we can't stop it and we can't control the outcome.
posted by Steve @ 1:38:00 AM