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Iraq: Are Two Years Enough? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The US political-security plan, the first steps of which were leaked to an American newspaper, focuses on controlling security in Baghdad’s local districts within one year. After that year, the plan will be implemented in the rest of Iraq based on the consideration that Baghdad represents the core of the country, upon which either the breeding of violence or the spread of peace depends. Is this plan realistic?

“The plan will succeed as it meets the security requirements in detail for all districts so that each one can qualify to be responsible for its own security,” according to a positive report that we consider unrealistic. A two-year period seems very optimistic for a war-torn country, amidst the continuous chaos, and notably the presence of internal and external active players that were behind the failure of all the previous security plans.

For over two years, the Iraqi security crisis has clearly reflected a war between Iran and Syria on the one hand, and the US on the other. The role of the Iraqis has been limited to acting as troops fighting on behalf of the two sides. Iran sees it as a historical opportunity to hold sway over Iraq while Syria believes that chaos is a bargaining chip and thus wants Iraq to act as a buffer zone to deflect the US away from any potential anti-Syrian attack. From the start, Damascus has believed that there was an anti-Syrian project.

Firstly, the US project was originally based on overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s regime, which was the cause of tension against the US in the region, and secondly, it was based on adding Iraq to the list of pro-Washington states such as Egypt and Jordan, in addition to some Gulf States. Consequently, we regard the Iraqi events as an Iraqi action contrary to all facts on the ground as well as the region as a whole. This is the reason behind the US holding a second meeting with the Iranians so that they could agree upon an appropriate formula for Iraq.

Therefore, to plan for the autonomous security of Baghdad’s districts may prove to be an additional solution following the futility of the intervention by the security forces and both the Iraqi and US armies because of the lack of confidence and the inability to stop the fighting. There are sufficient reasons to believe that the promised two-year plan is just a political ploy to delude US voters that victory can be achieved – but only following the presidential elections to be held in 16 months time.

In any case, the interests of all Americans, Iraqis, Syrians and Iranians have become dependent on stopping the violence that has reached a point whereby the possibility of war is a threat that exists even outside of Iraq itself. Moreover, the equation has dramatically changed today than what it had been earlier this year. In other words, a new extremist Sunni power has risen against the Sunni power associated with Iran and which is capable of acting against that Iran-affiliated power.

Furthermore, a shift has occurred in the US position, which took a large step towards the Sunni opposition and away from the Iran-affiliated Shia militias. As the date of the international court looms near, Syria has begun to sense that the threats against its regime now bear a legitimate cloak and that the trial would be a pretense to settle many accounts – notably the intervention in Iraq. As for Iran, it is on the verge of an abyss. It is an extremely dangerous game that has two dimensions: the nuclear issue and the war in Iraq.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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