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The Way Forward In Iraq
Posted by: Dale Franks on Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The White House has posted a bullet-point breakdown of the new tactical and strategic initiative for Iraq.
The President's New Iraq Strategy Is Rooted In Six Fundamental Elements:

1. Let the Iraqis lead;
2. Help Iraqis protect the population;
3. Isolate extremists;
4. Create space for political progress;
5. Diversify political and economic efforts; and
6. Situate the strategy in a regional approach.

* Iraq Could Not Be Graver – The War On Terror Cannot Be Won If We Fail In Iraq. Our enemies throughout the Middle East are trying to defeat us in Iraq. If we step back now, the problems in Iraq will become more lethal, and make our troops fight an uglier battle than we are seeing today.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Security

Iraqi:

* Publicly acknowledge all parties are responsible for quelling sectarian violence.
* Work with additional Coalition help to regain control of the capital and protect the Iraqi population.
* Deliver necessary Iraqi forces for Baghdad and protect those forces from political interference.
* Commit to intensify efforts to build balanced security forces throughout the nation that provide security even-handedly for all Iraqis.
* Plan and fund eventual demobilization program for militias.

Coalition:

* Agree that helping Iraqis to provide population security is necessary to enable accelerated transition and political progress.
* Provide additional military and civilian resources to accomplish this mission.
* Increase efforts to support tribes willing to help Iraqis fight Al Qaeda in Anbar.
* Accelerate and expand the embed program while minimizing risk to participants.

Both Coalition And Iraqi:

* Continue counter-terror operations against Al Qaeda and insurgent organizations.
* Take more vigorous action against death squad networks.
* Accelerate transition to Iraqi responsibility and increase Iraqi ownership.
* Increase Iraqi security force capacity – both size and effectiveness – from 10 to 13 Army divisions, 36 to 41 Army Brigades, and 112 to 132 Army Battalions.
o Establish a National Operations Center, National Counterterrorism Force, and National Strike Force.
o Reform the Ministry of Interior to increase transparency and accountability and transform the National Police.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Political

Iraqi:

* The Government of Iraq commits to:
o Reform its cabinet to provide even-handed service delivery.
o Act on promised reconciliation initiatives (oil law, de-Baathification law, Provincial elections).
o Give Coalition and ISF authority to pursue ALL extremists.

* All Iraqi leaders support reconciliation.
* Moderate coalition emerges as strong base of support for unity government.

Coalition:

* Support political moderates so they can take on the extremists.
o Build and sustain strategic partnerships with moderate Shi'a, Sunnis, and Kurds.
* Support the national compact and key elements of reconciliation with Iraqis in the lead.
* Diversify U.S. efforts to foster political accommodation outside Baghdad (more flexibility for local commanders and civilian leaders).
o Expand and increase the flexibility of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) footprint.
o Focus U.S. political, security, and economic resources at local level to open space for moderates, with initial priority to Baghdad and Anbar.

Both Coalition And Iraqi:

* Partnership between Prime Minister Maliki, Iraqi moderates, and the United States where all parties are clear on expectations and responsibilities.
* Strengthen the rule of law and combat corruption.
* Build on security gains to foster local and national political accommodations.
* Make Iraqi institutions even-handed, serving all of Iraq's communities on an impartial basis.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Economic

Iraqi:

* Deliver economic resources and provide essential services to all areas and communities.
* Enact hydrocarbons law to promote investment, national unity, and reconciliation.
* Capitalize and execute jobs-producing programs.
* Match U.S. efforts to create jobs with longer term sustainable Iraqi programs.
* Focus more economic effort on relatively secure areas as a magnet for employment and growth.

Coalition:

* Refocus efforts to help Iraqis build capacity in areas vital to success of the government (e.g. budget execution, key ministries).
* Decentralize efforts to build Iraqi capacities outside the Green Zone.
o Double the number of PRTs and civilians serving outside the Green Zone.
o Establish PRT-capability within maneuver Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs).

* Greater integration of economic strategy with military effort.
o Joint civil-military plans devised by PRT and BCT.
o Remove legal and bureaucratic barriers to maximize cooperation and flexibility.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Regional

Iraqi:

* Vigorously engage Arab states.
* Take the lead in establishing a regional forum to give support and help from the neighborhood.
* Counter negative foreign activity in Iraq.
* Increase efforts to counter PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party).

Coalition:

* Intensify efforts to counter Iranian and Syrian influence inside Iraq.
* Increase military presence in the region.
* Strengthen defense ties with partner states in the region.
* Encourage Arab state support to Government of Iraq.
* Continue efforts to help manage relations between Iraq and Turkey.
* Continue to seek the region's full support in the War on Terror.

Both Coalition And Iraqi:

* Focus on the International Compact.
* Retain active U.N. engagement in Iraq – particularly for election support and constitutional review.
There's really quite a lot there. Feel free to review and comment.
 
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I’m wondering where this frankness was in 2005, and why it took until 2007 and a major Congressional loss to fess up and admit a major shift was needed.

That being said, all those objectives are nice, but 21,000 troops will not do the job. Gen Petraeus said you need about 20-25 troops per 1000 local residents to quell an insurgency. We’re nowhere near that; worse, some units are being moved from Afghanistan, which is already in a serious manpower crunch, to Iraq, where they won’t do any good.
 
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