Exiting Iraq_ Competing Strategies

Exiting Iraq_ - MATTAIR COMPETING EXIT STRATEGIES EXITING IRAQ COMPETING STRATEGIES Thomas R Mattair Dr Mattair is a Washington-based consultant to

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69 M ATTAIR : C OMPETING E XIT S TRATEGIES E XITING I RAQ : C OMPETING S TRATEGIES Thomas R. Mattair Dr. Mattair is a Washington-based consultant to government and business. From 1992 to 1995 he was the Director of Research at the Middle East Policy Council. From 1996 to 2003 he conducted research in the Gulf on boundary disputes, oil and gas fields and pipelines, shipping, trade and investment, Islamist movements, political regimes, regional armed forces and regional conflicts. F inding an exit for U.S. troops from Iraq is becoming an urgent enterprise. Some plans call for virtually immediate withdrawal, some for withdrawal according to varying timetables, and some for withdrawal with no fixed schedule. MORE IS BETTER Thomas Friedman in June 2005 recom- mended doubling U.S. forces and fighting Sunni insurgents “to the death” so unifying political leaders could emerge. 1 An in- crease was also recommended by Kenneth Pollack. He argued that U.S. operations against insurgents have antagonized the Sunnis in western Iraq, and that the United States should shift its efforts away from these areas and concentrate on guarding communications and transportation sites and on building “safe zones” in cities and rural areas, particularly those dominated by Shiites and urban Sunnis. There, he argued, support for insurgency is low and the desire for normality high. U.S. forces could take part in patrols with Iraqi security forces in these “safe zones”; Kurdish security forces are capable of securing their own areas. This approach would foster political and economic revival and break popular support for the insurgency. 2 Some increase in troop levels was considered by Senators Jack Reed and Joseph Biden, both Democrats, and has been supported by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both Republicans. President Bush seemed to reject it unless his commanders in the field asked, which left the option open. A problem with sending more U.S. troops is that this would strain both the military and U.S. public opinion. Another problem, even if these troops were deployed in Anbar province, is that there is no guaran- tee they would defeat a growing insurgency skilled in asymmetric warfare and composed of disparate cells. There is also no guaran- tee this approach would encourage political compromise among Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian communities. Making certain zones “safe” may not be feasible. Many cities and rural areas have mixed popula- tions where Sunnis and Shiites kill each other and Iraqi and U.S. troops regularly. Journal Compilation © 2006, Middle East Policy Council © 2006, The Author
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70 M IDDLE E AST P OLICY , V OL . XIII, N O . 1, S PRING 2006 Again, it may not foster compromise. GET OUT FAST
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This note was uploaded on 07/22/2009 for the course GOV 312L taught by Professor Madrid during the Spring '07 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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Exiting Iraq_ - MATTAIR COMPETING EXIT STRATEGIES EXITING IRAQ COMPETING STRATEGIES Thomas R Mattair Dr Mattair is a Washington-based consultant to

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