Monday, December 04, 2006
So what is our strategy going to be in Iraq over the next year or so? Perhaps more correctly the question should be what is the US Strategy going to be in Iraq over the next year or so?
According to the BBC Donald Rumsfeld urged a shift in tactics just two days before he resigned.
He admitted that the US strategy in Iraq was not working well enough and called or "a major adjustment".
It was also clear that contrary to his previous pronouncements he was actively involved in tactics and strategy that should more rightly be being decided by the military commanders and was proposing some troop withdrawals in order to pressurise the Iraqi forces to "pull their socks up". The memo suggested reducing the number of US bases in Iraq from the current 55 to 5 by July 2007.
Most interestingly the memo also contained other proposals which included "setting a firm withdrawal date and pushing an aggressive federalism plan to move towards three separate states - Sunni, Shia and Kurd." In a previous post I highlighted an article in the Guardian which looked at eight different options for the way forward and I stated then that "I suspect that the outcome will be option 6 (break up of Iraq) whether or not the tricky question of oil revenues can be resolved or not. The country is virtually in the throws of a civil war in any case and there are clearly areas which are likely strongholds for each of the Kurds, Shias and Sunnis." It gives me no great pleasure to find support for this view from Donald Rumsfeld of all people.
Meanwhile Kofi Annan is quoted by the BBC here as saying "the situation in Iraq has become much worse than a civil war"
James Bakers Iraq Study Group is due to report this week and it will be fascinating to see what it recommends.
Whatever, it says I still believe that we are facing a Balkans type situation in Iraq and without the presence of a single "strong man" type leader the inevitable result will be the break up of Iraq into a probable three state solution. Whether it happens in the short term or the longer term is the only point open for debate in my opinion.