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Rex Brynen
12-18-2008, 07:49 PM
Iraq in the Obama Administration
December 2008


This new USIP report highlights the obstacles to stability in Iraq in the coming year and the challenges President Obama will face as he aims to reduce the U.S. presence there. This report is the product of discussions among Iraq experts who span the political spectrum but who agree that Iraq will require urgent and immediate attention from the new administration.

The global financial crisis and turmoil elsewhere in the world have caused Iraq to fall off the front pages, due to relative calm there. However, any appearance of Iraq being on a glide path to long-term stability is illusory. "Iraq in the Obama Administration" calls the incoming administrationís attention to key trouble spots and offers specific recommendations about how to address them.

Daniel Serwer, vice-president for Post-Conflict, Peace and Stability Operations at USIP, said, "This report comes at a critical time, as the complexity of the administration transition and a range of other pressing concerns may result in Iraq not getting the attention it requires. Despite improvements, vital U.S. interests are at stake in Iraq, and it cannot be ignored."

The expert working group that contributed to this report is the continuation of the expert advisory groups for the Iraq Study Group, which USIP managed. These experts represent a wide range of institutions and political viewpoints.

Access full report (http://www.usip.org/pubs/usipeace_briefings/2008/1218_iraq_obama.html?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Access+full+report&utm_content=rex.brynen%40mcgill.ca&utm_campaign=PB+-+Obama+Admin+in+Iraq%3A+from+ISG) (pdf)

jkm_101_fso
12-18-2008, 08:40 PM
Recommendation 4: U.S. forces, which should expect to live with a measure of violence, need to be ready to intervene quickly if violence reaches unacceptably extreme levels. This must be weighed against the political consequences (in both Iraq and the U.S.) of doing so, which could be damaging.

I am curious to see the task/org of this "intervening force". I would also be interested to see what "unacceptably extreme levels" of violence would be. Would the Iraqis have to ask? Or would we decide? Furthermore, I'm not in favor of potential U.S. QRF actions "being weighed politically" prior to intervention. Reference Fallujah '04 as an example.


Recommendation 10: Continue to press the Maliki government to pay the SOI and integrate greater numbers of them into the ISF and other government posts.

I've heard two things:
1. SOI is being integrated into the IA/IP
2. SOI is being "Transformed" into a uniformed militia, not a part of IA or IP.


Recommendation 11: The U.S. should press for a comprehensive settlement based on the UN recommendations between the KRG and the central government (of which the Kurds are also a part).

I think the U.S. at some point may have to choose sides, or at the least, it will appear as though we have to choose a side. On the surface, we will always support the GOI, but may have to push them on pro-Kurd issues. This could get ugly. Not sure if the UN will touch the independence issue. I can't imagine they would.


Recommendation 13: Establish trilateral U.S./Iraq/Turkey talks to buttress territorial settlement efforts and to deal with security concerns, particularly the PKK, a Kurdish terrorist group based in KRG territory.

Will be curious to see if the Turks get any more aggressive than have already been, in regards to military action against PKK. Will also be curious to see if the Turks hold Maliki more responsible for PKK and not Barzani.