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Iraq: al-Rubaie lays out road map for US troop withdrawals
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I love the fact that on page A17 of yesterday's Washington Post, this little gem lay buried:
Iraq has a total of 18 governorates, which are at differing stages in terms of security. Each will eventually take control of its own security situation, barring a major crisis. But before this happens, each governorate will have to meet stringent minimum requirements as a condition of being granted control. For example, the threat assessment of terrorist activities must be low or on a downward trend. Local police and the Iraqi army must be deemed capable of dealing with criminal gangs, armed groups and militias, and border control. There must be a clear and functioning command-and-control center overseen by the governor, with direct communication to the prime minister's situation room.
Who is saying that? Well none other than the newly appointed Iraqi National Security Advisor, Mowaffak al-Rubaie. Wow ... a plan.

An Iraqi plan ... light, end of tunnel, etc.
Despite the seemingly endless spiral of violence in Iraq today, such a plan is already in place. All the governors have been notified and briefed on the end objective. The current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has approved the plan, as have the coalition forces, and assessments of each province have already been done. Nobody believes this is going to be an easy task, but there is Iraqi and coalition resolve to start taking the final steps to have a fully responsible Iraqi government accountable to its people for their governance and security. Thus far four of the 18 provinces are ready for the transfer of power — two in the north (Irbil and Sulaymaniyah) and two in the south (Maysan and Muthanna). Nine more provinces are nearly ready.
4 down and 9 more almost there. 13 out of 18 provinces ready or near ready for a transfer of power from coaltion to Iraqi security forces (ISF). Seems to coincide with the DoD report I cited the other day, doesn't it?

And what does that mean for US troops?
With the governors of each province meeting these strict objectives, Iraq's ambition is to have full control of the country by the end of 2008. In practice this will mean a significant foreign troop reduction. We envisage the U.S. troop presence by year's end to be under 100,000, with most of the remaining troops to return home by the end of 2007.
Now we can understand why John Kerry was attempting to push his drop-dead date out 6 months, can't we? And my predicted withdrawl time frame was mid '07 to early '08. Again that assumes progress continues at the level it is now in the security realm.

And does the Iraqi government want US troops out of there? You bet. Here's a little reality slap:
The eventual removal of coalition troops from Iraqi streets will help the Iraqis, who now see foreign troops as occupiers rather than the liberators they were meant to be. It will remove psychological barriers and the reason that many Iraqis joined the so-called resistance in the first place. The removal of troops will also allow the Iraqi government to engage with some of our neighbors that have to date been at the very least sympathetic to the resistance because of what they call the "coalition occupation." If the sectarian issue continues to cause conflict with Iraq's neighbors, this matter needs to be addressed urgently and openly — not in the guise of aversion to the presence of foreign troops.

Moreover, the removal of foreign troops will legitimize Iraq's government in the eyes of its people. It has taken what some feel is an eternity to form a government of national unity. This has not been an easy or enviable task, but it represents a significant achievement, considering that many new ministers are working in partisan situations, often with people with whom they share a history of enmity and distrust. By its nature, the government of national unity, because it is working through consensus, could be perceived to be weak. But, again, the drawdown of foreign troops will strengthen our fledgling government to last the full four years it is supposed to.
The trick is getting coaltion troops out of there at the right time. That's been the trick the entire time. They need us now, but we don't want them to become dependent on us. The phased turnover of provinces is actually a weaning process. The drawdown he proposes will be as well.

And, as Rubaie points out, at some point, the removal of coalition forces will fully legitimize the government in the eyes of the people of Iraq. Then the real heavy lifting can begin in terms of stamping out the insurgency and disarming the militias, growing the economy and stabalizing the political atmosphere.

Big finish:
While Iraq is trying to gain its independence from the United States and the coalition, in terms of taking greater responsibility for its actions, particularly in terms of security, there are still some influential foreign figures trying to spoon-feed our government and take a very proactive role in many key decisions. Though this may provide some benefits in the short term, in the long run it will only serve to make the Iraqi government a weaker one and eventually lead to a culture of dependency. Iraq has to grow out of the shadow of the United States and the coalition, take responsibility for its own decisions, learn from its own mistakes, and find Iraqi solutions to Iraqi problems, with the knowledge that our friends and allies are standing by with support and help should we need it.
Sounds a lot like a guy who wants to take responsibilty for his own future to me. Would someone forward this to John Kerry and Jack Murtha?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together...,2933,200354,00.html
The Pentagon has notified about 21,000 Army soldiers and Marines that they are scheduled to be sent to Iraq late this year as part of the latest deployment rotation.

Four major combat brigades from Texas, Alaska and Colorado are scheduled to replace troops returning home from the war, the Pentagon said. Thus, the announcement does not signal an increase in troop strength in Iraq.

Combined with last November’s announcement of 92,000 American service members scheduled to go to Iraq in the 2006-2008 rotation, this would bring the total U.S. troop level to about 113,000 for that period. That is less than the approximately 138,000 average troop level for the past year, but more than military officials’ goal of less than 100,000 by the end of the year.

There are about 127,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.
Additionally, Austin Bay had this to say about it...
al-Rubaie’s “new” plan is remarkably similar to the Multi-National Force’s August 2004 objectives for Iraq. Rubaie mentions security metrics for provinces and towns (in August 2004 MNF and Multi-National Corps-Iraq hammered out local security metrics, including a description of communications requirements– which Rubaie’s remark about a functional command and control center echoes). Here’s what’s new– an Iraqi is saying it, an Iraqi backed by a democratically-elected Iraqi government
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
It made my night reading this. It sounds like they really are getting it together in Iraq. I think we could be impressed in the long run here.
Written By: newc
URL: http://
Abu al-fin,

I guess you learn something new everyday. I was not aware the UAE was not arab. Could you elaborate? I assume the UAE is not kurdish or persian. Thanks!
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
And today there’s a TCS Daily article, "In Iraq, A Drawdown But Not Out," that talks about the methodical standing-down of US forces as the Iraqis stand up, to use Bush’s well-known line.

I wonder, if Iraq really does make this transition, what will be the fallout among people who have been against the war from the beginning. Some will surely admit that, yes, after four to five years we really did accomplish a good thing in Iraq. But how many will never admit, no matter how far Iraq progresses, that something positive came out of this war and the Bush administration in general? Who will never be able to look past the mistakes, never see the forest for the trees?
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
OrneryWP, I think you’re going to see a couple of strategies here...
1) The focus on the "Failure" of De-Ba’athification and how the nation really is only a "Running Dog Lackey of neo-Fascist Monopoly Fiance Capitalism". A tack to explain the BRD, to this day, and to explain Singapore, Korea, and Taiwan...
2) Others will wait about 10-20 years and then say, "That’s ALL history, NOW. And proceed to spout on and on about the CURRENT Leftist Bug-a-boo" attempting to finesse their failure concerning Iraq.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Sounds a lot like a guy who wants to take responsibilty for his own future to me. Would someone forward this to John Kerry and Jack Murtha? "

It does sound like this is the right man to lead Bush out of Iraq - to victory.
I’m curious why the writer (McQ?) thinks Kerry and Murtha should get this word, when this is supporting what they’ve been advocating? Both have been saying the Iraqis should decide their own future sooner than later.

His oped to show Bush the road map for the course is something i’m sure the dems will embrace more than Cheney or Bush does.

The US has enough good talent to have come up with a similar plan at the very beginning - Yet there never has been even a hint of a plan beyond "victory" and "we will not give up" - "stay the course", "stand-up and down" - all of it saying nothing and signalling they dont want to say anything - Its a plan you’d expect to see for someone who intends on staying indefinitely. Just utter vague platitudes and misleading goals that have no metric - and avoid getting into discussions of possible metrics - blame that on "giving the enemy secrets" - that excuse has been working very well, for a long time.

He says at that ending:
"...there are still some influential foreign figures trying to spoon-feed our government and take a very proactive role in many key decisions. Though this may provide some benefits in the short term, in the long run it will only serve to make the Iraqi government a weaker one and eventually lead to a culture of dependency. Iraq has to grow out of the shadow of the United States"

It looks like his gist is about the long term - Iraq will remain a dependent to these "foreigh influences" - If he was referring to a withdrawal too soon, how could that be a short term gain, that led to a weaker Iraq in the long term? (Nobody believes Murtha’s plan would be anything but withdrawal for good, do they?). It sounds like he is speaking about something else, that is not in the public eye.

(What is going on with the oil flow and who will control it? - the official web sites?)

Note al-Rubaie’s released document he says is from Zarqawi’s safe house.
Its a document saying the enemy is losing and the steps being taken are working - sucessfully. In fact, it look like it supports his road map for Bush. Some people might think releasing info like this is just propaganda and/or not smart, but i differ with that. Nowhere in there is anything that will help al Qaeda that they dont already know (and dont follow anyway). What this is, is an aid for the road map.

What keeps Bush in iraq is the enemy - the enemy can be anything that gives Bush the excuse to stay beyond his initially stated goal. The list shows all of the things the enemy will do to effect that happening. Now that they know what the enemy will try, they can take preventive measures to prevent the enemy from being able to use this strategy. This should result in Bush being able to leave Iraq sooner.
Its saying dont fall for the ruse of the enemy pulling Iran into this or believing the terror events are done by Iran - dont go after Al-Sadr - dont lose focus on leaving Iraq.
(IOW, Dont listen to Fox News)
The Zarqawi document is the aid for the road map that will help Bush to follow it to his goal of leaving Iraq - to victory,
Thus, its a very timely document - we should all feel fortunate for. Leaving Iraq is whats necessary for the success of that country.
Written By: Korbett
URL: http://

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