Exit Strategies

Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s National Security Advisor has a piece in The Washington Post on the current roadmap towards a coalition exit from Iraq – the very thing that the Democrats keep saying doesn’t exist. Unlike the Democrat’s cut and run “strategy”, the agreed-upon Coalition/Iraqi plan doesn’t argue for timetables, but metrics of improvement to determine when coalition forces can leave:

Iraq has a total of 18 governorates, which are at differing stages in terms of security. Each will eventually take control of its own security situation, barring a major crisis. But before this happens, each governorate will have to meet stringent minimum requirements as a condition of being granted control. For example, the threat assessment of terrorist activities must be low or on a downward trend. Local police and the Iraqi army must be deemed capable of dealing with criminal gangs, armed groups and militias, and border control. There must be a clear and functioning command-and-control center overseen by the governor, with direct communication to the prime minister’s situation room.

Despite the seemingly endless spiral of violence in Iraq today, such a plan is already in place. All the governors have been notified and briefed on the end objective. The current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has approved the plan, as have the coalition forces, and assessments of each province have already been done. Nobody believes this is going to be an easy task, but there is Iraqi and coalition resolve to start taking the final steps to have a fully responsible Iraqi government accountable to its people for their governance and security. Thus far four of the 18 provinces are ready for the transfer of power — two in the north (Irbil and Sulaymaniyah) and two in the south (Maysan and Muthanna). Nine more provinces are nearly ready.

The core issue in Iraq is security – without getting the security situation under control, the country can’t progress forward. The Iraqi military is performing quite well, but Iraqi internal security and police forces are doing much more poorly than is necessary to keep the peace. They have also been heavily infiltrated by sectarian militias. Prime Minister al-Maliki has promised to stop these sectarian militias from causing violence, and that is his single biggest challenge.

Our efforts at counterinsurgency in Iraq are working – al-Qaeda in Iraq is essentially destroyed and will have much greater difficulty regrouping now. This security plan will push some of the responsibility for security down to the provincial level, which is where it needs to be. It will take time and effort, but Iraq’s security forces can defeat the threats of terrorism and criminality. Furthermore, despite the racist and patronizing smears of callow Democrats, the Iraqis are pulling their weight. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Iraqis have been killed in terrorist attacks against police and military recruitment centers – and yet the lines are still long. The disgusting argument that the Iraqis haven’t done enough when they’re bearing the brunt of this conflict only shows how craven and ignorant the Democratic leadership is on this war.

Successful counterinsurgencies take time and will. Sadly, the Democratic Party has become virtual cheerleaders for al-Qaeda, constantly arguing that Iraq is unwinnable and we should pull out now. Not even al-Qaeda is so foolish as to understimate the skill and power of the US armed forces. With our help, the Iraqis will defeat the terrorists, and Iraq will be a haven for democratic pluralism in the region. It may not happen overnight, and it won’t happen on the timetable of some pencil-pushing prick in Washington, but it will happen – and once again the left will be on the wrong side of history rather than the side that actually cares about human rights and civil society.

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