greg (grysar) wrote,

Greg's Iraq policy

So, I've worked out a fairly straightforwardd strategy for Iraq. I've run it by a few people, but before I try for a blog posting off the work blog, I want to stress test it a bit more.

  1. Work out an agreement with surrounding states to prevent a larger war. This requires negotiation with Iran and Syria. This does not necessarily require accepting Iran's weapon's program but will require giving up on regime change in either state in the near term. This should work because neighboring countries are more intrested in keeping other neighbors from intervening than they are in intervening themselves.

  2. Work out a plan for phased withdrawal from Iraq. The basic idea would be not replacing units that rotate out. Announce this as the default plan.
  3. Offer a referndum to the Iraq people on the continued U.S. occupation of Iraq.

    • This agreement would set the terms of U.S. involvement. What our goals are, where we have juristdiction, etc.
    • The details would be negotiated between the U.S. and the Iraqi government. Major power-brokers, even odious ones such as Al Sadr, should be consulted. The exact terms of said consultation would be up to the parties.
    • A referendum is necessary because the Iraqi government has not shown that it can deliver the support of the bulk of the Iraqi people.
    • Multiple competing referendums might be a useful option. That call should be left to the negotiators.
    • The U.S. negotiator should probably be Zalmay Khalilzad, James Baker, or Condoleezza Rice. They must be entrusted with complete dealmaking authority.
    • To pass, the referendum must be supported by the majority of the Iraqi people and may not be opposed by more than a two-thirds margin in three Iraqi provincecs. This is the same criteria as for the Iraqi constitution. At present, polls seem to indicate such any referendum involving occupation for more than a year would fail.

  4. In the event of a withdrawal, offer asylum to those that helped us out, even at the low level with tips and such. Otherwise they'll likely be killed.
  5. Should no referendum pass, work out a side deal with Sunnis power-brokers. We should not provide material support for the civil war, but should make clear that we will stay out so long as they do not allow Al Qaeda to establish permanent bases. This adamently must include Islamist and even outright theocratic Sunnis.
  6. In the event of a full-scale genocide against the Sunnis and all major Sunni factions in Iraq request intervention, work out an agreement for re-intervention in the Security Council. This may involve the U.S. having to invade again and having lost the benefit of the infrastructure we've established in Iraq. That's okay, we're good at invasions, it's counterinsurgancy we're bad at. Alternately, other nations may be willing to put up the troops and prefer the U.S. not be directly involved. That's even better.

Practically speaking, I suspect this is a withdrawal plan. However, I think it is an honorable withdrawal. Any effort to save Iraq at this point is a gamble. There is no reason to make this gamble if at very least the majority of the Iraq people are not on our side.

[Addendum: Added the bit about asylum.]
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