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                                       politics + culture

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chatham House: Iraq near collapse, surge cannot deliver

Mark Tran in the Guardian UK reports on new findings from the non-profit Chatham House think tank on Iraq:

Iraq is in danger of becoming a failed state and faces the possibility of collapse and fragmentation, a foreign affairs thinktank said today. The bleak assessment, from the Chatham House thinktank in London, said Iraq was suffering from not one but many civil wars and insurgencies involving numerous communities and organisations struggling for power.

"Contrary to the initial hopes of policy planners in Washington DC and London, it seems likely that the reality of regionalisation of Iraqi political life ... will have to be accepted as a defining feature of Iraq's political structure," the report said. "It will need to be worked with rather than opposed."

"In pursuing such a strategy, military force in the forms of surges cannot deliver the critical political accommodation," the report said. "Only by engaging with leaders and organisations that possess some degree of credibility and legitimacy ... can there be any chance of stabilisation in Iraq."



  • From the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

    More money, manpower, and patience will not be enough to pull Iraq back from the brink
    without a new and more realistic strategy for shaping and integrating US, allied, and Iraqi
    efforts. The US mid-term elections are simply a confirmation of this need to make major
    changes in US policy towards Iraq that has been acknowledged by the replacement of
    Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with Robert Gates.

    The wrong kind of change, however, can simply make defeat a certainty, increase risk,
    and force events to spiral out of control The demand by some Democrats to pressure the
    Iraqi government into fostering compromise and conciliation by drawing down troop
    levels is gathering momentum, but the ISF simply is not ready to take such missions and
    it is far easier to force Iraq’s leaders to divide along sectarian and ethnic lines that force
    compromise on a fractured political structure and society.

    Equally reputable, different conclusions about courses of action needed.

    By Blogger BillT, at 8:04 AM  

  • There's no comparison.

    Re: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (from Wikipedia):

    "...has generally had a right-wing, neoconservative tilt in its studies and reports."

    The Chatham House, however, is explicitly nonpartisan:

    The Institute...is a think tank and membership organization for individuals, corporations, governments, and NGOs and is precluded by its charter from expressing any institutional view or policy on any aspect of international affairs.

    For the neoconservative track record on Iraq try this 2006 article from ABC NEWS:

    "A group of powerful neoconservatives who urged the Bush administration to invade Iraq now say the White House has failed disastrously.

    Richard Perle, who was chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee until 2004, told Vanity Fair magazine associate editor David Rose that the team that executed the war was dangerously out of control.

    Kenneth Adelman, who also served on the Defense Policy Board, said in 2002 that liberating Iraq would be a "cakewalk," but told Vanity Fair he now agrees the Bush national security team is "dysfunctional." Adelman called it "among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era."

    Why should readers trust anything from the neoconservative Center for Strategic and International Studies at this point...especially regarding Iraq?!

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 8:29 AM  

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