View Full Version : New Strategy for War Stresses Iraqi Politics

05-23-2007, 09:35 AM
New Strategy for War Stresses Iraqi Politics (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/22/AR2007052201600_pf.html)- Washington Post, 23 May.

Top U.S. commanders and diplomats in Iraq (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/related-topics.html/Iraq?tid=informline) are completing a far-reaching campaign plan for a new U.S. strategy, laying out military and political goals and endorsing the selective removal of hardened sectarian actors from Iraq's security forces and government.

The classified plan, scheduled to be finished by May 31, is a joint effort between Gen. David H. Petraeus (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/related-topics.html/David+Petraeus?tid=informline), the senior American general in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/related-topics.html/Ryan+Crocker?tid=informline). More than half a dozen people with knowledge of the plan discussed its contents, although most asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about it to reporters.

The overarching aim of the plan, which sets goals for the end of this year and the end of 2008, is more political than military: to negotiate settlements between warring factions in Iraq from the national level down to the local level. In essence, it is as much about the political deals needed to defuse a civil war as about the military operations aimed at quelling a complex insurgency, said officials with knowledge of the plan.
The groundwork for the campaign plan was laid out in an assessment formulated by Petraeus's senior counterinsurgency adviser, David J. Kilcullen, with about 20 military officers, State Department (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/related-topics.html/U.S.+Department+of+State?tid=informline) officials and other experts in Baghdad (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/related-topics.html/Baghdad?tid=informline) known as the Joint Strategic Assessment Team. Their report, finished last month, was approved by Petraeus and Crocker as the basis of a formal campaign plan that will assign specific tasks for military commands and civilian agencies in Iraq ...

This plan and its success will be far more critical than the surge of troops ... will Iraqi political actors cooperate to the extent required, and is there enough time left on both the Iraqi and Washington clocks for this to work?

05-23-2007, 02:49 PM
Well its a start. I've seen the base document for the Joint Campaign plan. From a COIN point of view, its right on target trying to move towards a political solution. I think the article, however, misses the point of the "clear, hold, build" method. Its not a strategy for transitioning power to the Iraqis, but rather, a time-proven COIN methodology. The article and Kilcullen's quote reinforces the use of the clear-hold-build. Rather than the Iraqi forces taking over the security operations, our troops plused up by the "surge" and extensions, will continue to take the lead in security operations.

Right now it seems like we've got a good team working towards the same goal in P4 and Crocker. I think the real weak link in all this is the Iraqi government.