Saturday, 14 June 2014

Retired Army Lieutenant General James Dubik on #Iraq

An excellent analysis, "U.S. Must Act to Prevent Extremists’ Victory in #Iraq":

There is no use debating whether the present state could have been prevented if the United States left a sufficient residual force in place in 2011; neither Baghdad nor Washington could muster the domestic support for that. But the fact is that the Iraqis cannot succeed by themselves. If they could, the situation would not be as dire as it is.

So, what can we do now? Providing Iraq more “military stuff” isn’t a real answer, nor is the reintroduction of large numbers of U.S. or coalition troops. We have no easy options, but to start, the United States and its allies must commit to preventing an ISIS victory and assist the government of Iraq in halting and reversing ISIS’s progress. Although the long-term solutions for Iraqi stability are diplomatic and political, unless the Iraqi government can stop the ISIS offensive, such actions will be moot.

Halting the offensive is Iraq’s nearest-term objective. What is needed is a coordinated air and ground action consisting of both a heavy dose of precisely applied firepower and a sufficiently executed ground defensive. The Iraqis are incapable of such action alone. The firepower will have to be delivered by United States and allied aircraft augmented by Iraqi assets. The Iraqis will also need a small group of advisers to target air support correctly and to help identify or create capable, well-led units that are properly employed and backed by sufficient sustainment capacity. The advisory and support effort must be substantial enough to help the Iraqis conduct an initial defense and then plan and prepare a series of counter-offensive campaigns to regain lost areas. This will be a multi-year effort, but it cannot become a second surge.

These security actions must be taken within the context of an aggressive diplomatic and political effort. The United States and its allies must insist that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki dissolve the nefarious Office of the Commander-in-Chief, which has been one of the primary causes of the erosion of the ISF. The prime minister must also cease being the de facto ministers of defense and interior. Centralizing security ministries and running security operations from his office have all but ended development of both ministries, politicized the police and the military and reduced the performance of the ISF. Finally, the government of Iraq must change policies so that fewer Iraqis feel excluded. The failure to do so has helped create the crisis of confidence in Iraq’s government.

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