Saturday, February 17, 2007

New Plan for Iraq

With the new plan of increasing troops in the Iraq, yesterday, Gen. Fil claimed a new strategy----“clear, control and retain”. He explained,

“The first objective within each of the security districts in the Iraqi capital is to clear out extremist elements neighborhood by neighborhood in an effort to protect the population. And after an area is cleared, we're moving to what we call the control operation. Together with our Iraqi counterparts, we'll maintain a full-time presence on the streets, and we'll do this by building and maintaining joint security stations throughout the city. This effort to re-establish the joint security stations is well under way. The number of stations in each district will be determined by the commanders on the ground who control that area. An area moves into the retain phase when the Iraqi security forces are fully responsible for the day-to-day security mission. At this point, coalition forces begin to move out of the neighborhood and into locations where they can respond to requests for assistance as needed. " [1]

Let’s see the former strategy, “clear, hold and build”. Condoleezza Rice explained,
“Clear the toughest places, no sanctuaries to the enemy, and to disrupt foreign support for the insurgents. We are working to hold and steadily enlarge the secure areas, integrating political and economic outreach with our military operations. We are working to build truly national institutions by working with more capable provincial and local authorities. We are challenging them to embody a national compact, not tools of a particular sect or ethnic group. These Iraqi institutions must sustain security forces, bring rule of law, visibly deliver essential services, and offer the Iraqi people hope for a better economic future. " [2]

Compared with the former strategy, the new plan requires more role of the Iraqi government. The new plan focuses not only on “we” but also on the allies. Having been trained for years, the Iraqi military and police have the capability to share some burden of the US troops. Second, the “clear” task is accomplished in the form of small warfare, which is defined as “neighborhood by neighborhood”. The new tactic may be more suitable for the current Iraqi situation. Third, the Iraqi military is needed in the second phase and security forces are needed in the third phase. They can improve the relationships between Iraqi populace and Coalition Force. Iraqi forces understand the culture, and know how to get along with the populace. More importantly, when they secure and help the area develop, the populace regards them as representative of government, and will respect and support them. If the securing and building job is done by the US army, the Iraqi government cannot establish its own foundation from its people. On the other hand, with the new plan the US can deploy the skilled troops whose positions are handed to Iraqi security forces to achieve the first phase in the new front.

Another interesting stuff is that the new plan gives up the “build” task. Isn’t the status quo situation ready for rebuilding, or does the US want to let Iraqi people develop with their own hands? If the US doesn’t want to help Iraqi economic development, then I think the Iraq War will be a failure, because with the economy deteriorating, Iraqi people can be easily influenced by the extremists and terrorists. If it is not ready, then when is the appropriate time? The moment when all the extremists are cleared out or when the certain area is controlled, or when the area is retained?

1 comment:

Hans Morgenthau said...

Your intelligent outside perspective on what the United States is doing around the world is appreciated and can perhaps offer fresh insights for all of us. However, you seem to have condoned the notion that the United States is no-longer seeking to rebuild Iraq. This could not be further from the truth. You’ve misunderstood these statements to indicate some kind of policy shift in Iraq.

Since your quoting things, why not quote the tremendous amounts of money the US is presently bucketing into humanitarian and rebuilding efforts in Iraq? The United States is investing tens of billions of dollars in reconstruction projects across Iraq, not to mention the billions of American dollars and thousands of American lives that are being spent to try to reestablish a sense of security in Iraq. The United States has a tacit responsibility to provide all possible assistance to rebuild the Iraqi state, and has never declared any intention but to continue to do so.