Saturday, February 04, 2006

thoughts on Iraq: a US lens

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my thoughts on the iraq situation

Thinking aloud about Iraq as things stand in Jan 2006.Lets begin from first principals from an American perspective and our own lens

Issue: What and how much of it should we do for a stable transition to Iraqi self rule to ensure that we continue to protect our national interests and the reason why we fought the war with Iraq

US Interests: Vital – We ensure that Iraq’s existing and future 10 years capacity for developing WMD as well as harboring anti US terrorists is stopped. - We reaffirm our good standing with our traditional Arab allies through not being seen as occupiers of Iraq. - We continue to provide stability to Iraq’s oil rich OPEC neighbors and in particular Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE to prevent disruption to oil supplies. Less Important: Create a stable peaceful democratic prosperous post war Iraq forever and ever.
Objectives: Put appropriate post withdrawal mechanisms in place to continually verify and audit Iraqi capacity to develop WMD or be a breeding ground for terrorists. We involve Iraq’s neighbors (sans Iran and Syria) to take on an increasing role in supporting Iraq’s future. We retain control and the right to intervene in future in Iraq’s military affairs through actively supporting secular/moderate political elements in Iraq and its current democratically elected leadership. Given the extremely high costs envisaged in: financial, domestic opinion, American lives, we publicly moderate and reduce US involvement in creating a sustained peaceful stable Government and let the Iraqi’s and international community (??) take greater ownership .
Discussion: Given the President’s publicly stated position in the past of helping Iraqi people build a stable prosperous democratic future would we be seen to be renege on our promise?
Option 1: Provide tacit support to install future moderate US friendly governments. Control "puppet" govt. by proxy and replace hardliner’s Pros: Will be able to defend US national interests at lower price than with active intervention. Cons: Interim period of chaos, civil strife, and wide resentment against the US as civil war drags on and costs mount
Option 2: Provide partial US military protection, link country building aid with predefined objectives, marshal international community, Iraq’s neighbors and UN to let Iraqis do their own adaptive work. Pros: Will be good for public opinion at home given the domestic mood, recall American troops, be seen as multilateral by the international community Cons: Absence of support for Iraq, less US future control in Iraq’s destiny, loss in international credibility
Recommendation: We go with option 2. We put the ball back on the Iraqi and the international community’s court having served our purpose of replacing Saddam, reducing Iraq’s capacity for developing WMD and threatening its neighbors and fertile breeding ground for terrorists,
Implementation: ??? How to to it?? Can't figure this part of it out:(


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