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Thread: Iraq After the Surge

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    Default Iraq After the Surge

    The US Institute of Peace has just released its report - Iraq After the Surge: Options and Questions by Daniel Serwer and Sam Parker. This is the report cited in today's Washington Post - Iraq Report Details Political Hurdles and Future Options by Robin Wright.

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    Two papers from ICG, 30 Apr 08:

    Iraq After the Surge I: The New Sunni Landscape
    .....The U.S. is an integral and critical player in this ideological and material scramble. Its military presence galvanised resistance, bringing together groups that shared little else in common. Its early policies exacerbated and consolidated sectarian and ethnic divisions. Today, its divide-and-rule tactics are contributing to new fault lines and rivalries as some groups (a particular tribe, group or political party) benefit from U.S. largesse, while others do not. Undoubtedly, those that feel left out are and will be turning to alternative outside sponsors.

    Ultimately, stability will require that such rivalries be mediated neither through violence nor buy-off, but by functional, legitimate state institutions. This will take time, but initial movement in that direction requires the U.S. and others to push for a genuinely inclusive political system rather than sustain a deeply sectarian and corrupt one.....
    Iraq After the Surge II: The Need for a New Political Strategy
    ....Despite the breathing space provided by the surge, no meaningful progress toward reconciliation / accommodation has yet occurred. Instead, politicians with varying degrees of representativeness and a ruling alliance whose power and agendas have stood in the way of compromise have rendered a breakthrough unlikely. While some legislation has made it past the council of representatives, negotiations on key deals are stalled or sputtering, little has been carried out, and disputes over the content of laws are being reconfigured as disputes over their implementation.

    A principal reason for this disappointing lack of progress is that the process itself has not enjoyed broad support. The U.S. was the driving force in late 2005 after it realised that its state-building project was becoming unhinged because of a constitution-drafting process that lacked national consensus. Recognising in particular the need to appease Sunni Arabs, it concluded a compromise agreement to recalibrate power, which it imposed on a reluctant ruling alliance. This agreement’s subsequent non-implementation fed growing sectarian violence, which soon overtook politics.

    The surge brought relative and welcome calm. But there is reason to fear this is only a temporary salve and that underlying issues will again come to the fore.....

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