View Full Version : Victory and Violence in Iraq: Reducing the "Irreducible Minimum"

02-26-2008, 03:56 PM
CSIS, 25 Feb 08: Victory and Violence in Iraq: Reducing the "Irreducible Minimum" (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/080227_irreducible.minimum.final.pdf)

....US intelligence estimates in Iraq warn that there is still hard fighting to come in Mosul and Ninewa and that the fighting in three other provinces, especially Diyala, is scarcely over. They also warn that there is no near term prospect that Iraq can be made secure against violent showpiece IED attacks, suicide bombings, and other dramatic acts of violence that can be carried out by a handful of activists yet capture the attention of the media, Iraqis, and the world.

No matter how successful the MNF-I and Iraqi forces are against Al Qa'ida in Iraq and the worst elements of the JAM and other militias, there will be enough residual cadres to carry out attacks in an effort to spark new waves of ethnic and sectarian violence or to fight a war of political attrition that attempts to drive the US and its allies out of Iraq.

This means there is still tough fighting to come, as well as a low-level war of attrition that will continue to produce Iraqi and US casualties. We should have no illusions about the cost in American blood. We will soon be at 4,000 dead. Broader success may well mean a rise to 5,000 US dead over the next few years, and higher levels are all too possible. The cost to our Iraqi allies will inevitably be much higher.

There simply are not enough MNF-I and Iraqi forces to bring a quick halt to AQI attacks, and it is still going to take several years to build-up and reform Iraqi security forces to the point where the US can shift to a less violent role of "strategic overwatch."....
Related briefing slides: Violence in Iraq: Reaching an “Irreducible Minimum” (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/080227_violence.in.iraq.pdf)