Monday, August 18, 2008

"..The New US President must make clear to Maliki & co. that the era of unconditional support is over—or see security gains evaporate fast..."

Colin H. Kahl, John A. Nagl, Shawn Brimley in FP, here
"...Genuine reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites remains elusive. The “Sunni Awakening”—the Sunnis’ decision to cooperate with U.S. forces against AQI—ranks among the biggest reasons for the decline in violence in Iraq. But don’t be fooled: The awakening represents an accommodation with the United States, not the Shiites who dominate Iraq’s government. These security gains could dissolve if the Sunni “Sons of Iraq”—many of them former insurgents—are not integrated into official forces or gainfully employed, and if emerging tribal leaders don’t get an opportunity to share power at the local and national levels through elections......Iraq could easily backslide into mass violence. The surge was supposed to be about buying time to build Iraqi capacity and create breathing space for political accommodation. Yet, as Iraqi capacity and confidence have increased, Maliki and his allies seem less inclined to reach out to their adversaries. By emphasizing capacity over political will, the Bush administration has failed to force Iraqi leaders to make tough compromises. Instead, it too often conveys messages of unconditional support to the Iraqi government that undermine the behind-the-scenes cajoling of U.S. commanders and diplomats..."

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