Give me a break
Turning A Corner On Iraq
By Jeremy Greenstock
Saturday, November 18, 2006; Page A21
Avoiding defeat in Iraq is an unavoidably critical national interest -- for the United States as for Britain. If potentially lethal enemies are strengthened and re-motivated, the consequences will haunt us long after the headlines about withdrawal have faded.
Yet the United States and Britain have never attempted a truly comprehensive policy on Iraq. Unless the United States and its principal allies construct an approach that brings all available resources to bear to establish stability, there will be no point in staying in the country when all objective observers see a continuing downward spiral. If we are left with only the current policy, then we might as well cut our losses and withdraw.
We have to help Iraq's politicians put the country's unity above their sectarian priorities. The Iraqi government has to talk to the ugly but essential players who think differently but have a stake in the outcome. Only those with absolutist agendas that cannot encompass the nationhood of Iraq -- the al-Qaeda franchise and other non-Iraqi insurgents, for instance -- should be left out of the process.
The problems of the federal constitution, the distribution of Iraq's resources and the role of the unofficial militias have to be resolved in the direction of preserving the unity of the nation. Political and sectarian leaders need to insist that the state has a monopoly on the use of armed force. If they refuse, and the coalition leaves, they must be made aware that they are themselves unlikely to survive the coming chaos.
The Iraqi army must be asked to take on an increasing amount of the burden, with the coalition taking the calculated chance of equipping it more adequately. The army is the security institution with the highest status in the eyes of the population as a whole and the only one that is not largely corrupted and penetrated. Testing the Iraqi army next year, with the coalition stepping back off the streets and perhaps reducing its numbers, is a gamble that has to be taken. If it fails, and the coalition leaves, a national army will be unlikely to survive
Uh, you mean excluding the Kurds? Because they want their own country.
The Army is as secterian as anything else in Iraq.
It's over Jeremy, it's over and the Iraqis will determine who runs Iraq
posted by Steve @ 2:03:00 AM