Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Post Surge Plan Unveiled

After the Surge
The Administration Floats Ideas for a New Approach in Iraq

By David Ignatius
Tuesday, May 22, 2007; A15

President Bush and his senior military and foreign policy advisers are beginning to discuss a "post-surge" strategy for Iraq that they hope could gain bipartisan political support. The new policy would focus on training and advising Iraqi troops rather than the broader goal of achieving a political reconciliation in Iraq, which senior officials recognize may be unachievable within the time available.

The revamped policy, as outlined by senior administration officials, would be premised on the idea that, as the current surge of U.S. troops succeeds in reducing sectarian violence, America's role will be increasingly to help prepare the Iraqi military to take greater responsibility for securing the country.


Here's a summary of the policy ideas the officials said are under discussion:

· Train Iraqi security forces and support them as they gain sufficient intelligence, logistics and transport capability to operate independently.

· Provide "force protection" for U.S. troops who remain in Iraq.

· Continue Special Forces operations against al-Qaeda, in the hope of gradually reducing suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks on the Iraqi government. "That's the accelerator for sectarian violence," said one official.

· Focus U.S. activities on the two big enemies of stability and democracy in Iraq -- al-Qaeda and Iranian-backed sectarian militias.

· Maintain the territorial integrity and independence of Iraq.

· Ensure the near-term continuation of democracy in Iraq. That means supporting top-down reconciliation through a new oil law, new rules to make it easier for former Baath Party members to play a role in the new Iraq, provincial elections and changes to the Iraqi constitution to meet Sunni demands. It also means support for bottom-up reconciliation, such as the recent push against al-Qaeda by Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province, and recent peace feelers from radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.


The wild cards in this new effort to craft a bipartisan Iraq policy are the Republican and Democratic leaders, President Bush and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They both say they want a sustainable, effective Iraq policy, but each is deeply entrenched in a partisan version of what that policy should be. America is in a nosedive in Iraq. Can these two leaders share the controls enough that Iraq will become a U.S. project, rather than George Bush's war? There's a bipartisan path out of this impasse, but will America's leaders be wise enough to take it? full article

Good question. And according to my magic 8 ball of partisan politics the answer is "Not Likely at First". Meaning Dem's will try to ram home their version until it becomes clear that the president and moderate Republican's aren't biting.

What is of interest is that W is actually trying something his own inner circle didn't come up with, the Baker-Hamilton report. Given that there have been recent talks to Syria and Iran about Iraq taken together theses are all highly positive signs. My question is "Will it prove to be too little too late?".