View Full Version : Spurt of Violence in Iraq Mutes Talk of U.S. Troop Cuts

03-02-2006, 12:26 PM
2 Mar. NY Times - Spurt of Violence in Iraq Mutes Talk of U.S. Troop Cuts, but Decisions Loom (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/02/politics/02pentagon.html?).

Senior Pentagon officials said Wednesday that in the aftermath of a burst of sectarian violence in Iraq, it was unlikely that a decision would be made on a reduction in troop levels when top Army commanders meet with President Bush next week.

Officials also said it was possible a decision would be made but not announced immediately.

Their hesitancy reflected uncertainty over whether the sectarian bombings and insurgent attacks, which have killed hundreds of Iraqis in the past two weeks, might lead to a broader civil war, and whether Iraqi forces were up to the task of keeping order.

An announcement on American troop cuts, though widely expected for early March, could intensify the sectarian violence and persuade insurgents that attacks are succeeding in driving American troops out, the officials said...

03-02-2006, 04:28 PM
In an attempt to find some good in the looming civil war (if it hasnt already begun), maybe this is exactly what we want. As the US pulls troops out, Iraqi forces will be required to push forward. Admittedly, they may do poorly; however, that may force other countries to seek increased involvement in Iraq and the region. China, India, and Japan are dependent on the flow of oil from the Middle East more than the US is. It would be in their strategic interests not to let the area go to hell in a handbasket, thus they may choose to seek increased involvement.

In addition, the removal of US troops means the removal of targets, and more importantly, a source of insurgent grievances. Once removed, much of the insurgency should lose steam, while the extremely hard liners will be exposed for what they really are, radicals who truly have no vision or reasonable alternative to satisfy ethnic and religious grievances.

03-02-2006, 04:58 PM
Here's a topical paper from CSIS, dated 1 March and built from the foundation of their Evolving Iraqi Insurgency papers:

The Iraqi Insurgency and the Risk of Civil War: Who Are the Players? (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/060301_iraginsurgplayers.pdf)

03-03-2006, 07:03 AM
3 March Washington Post - Iraq Security for U.S. Teams Uncertain (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/02/AR2006030202014.html).

The Bush administration has decided to establish more reconstruction teams in Iraq's provinces to coordinate U.S. aid and fortify local governments, but the State Department has been unable so far to gain a Pentagon commitment to provide U.S. troops to protect the groups, U.S. officials said.

State Department officials had hoped the U.S. military would take responsibility for ensuring the safety of the dozens of diplomats, aid workers and other specialists intended to staff the new outposts, which, when announced last fall, were billed as an important initiative for rebuilding the country. But the Pentagon remains reluctant to take on new missions while it is trying to reduce the visibility of U.S. forces in Iraq and turn over more areas to the Iraqis, the officials said

The uncertainty over who will protect the new teams underscores how deeply security considerations affect every aspect of U.S. policy in Iraq, particularly the troubled effort to spark a broad-based reconstruction.

The United States has also begun discussions with Britain, Italy and other nations that have forces in Iraq about taking charge of some of the groups, known as provincial reconstruction teams, or PRTs...