Thursday, March 15, 2007

Iraqi Political Goals Lagging

New York Times:
The Bush administration, which six months ago issued a series of political goals for the Iraqi government to meet by this month, is now tacitly acknowledging that the goals will take significantly longer to achieve.

In interviews this week, administration officials said that the military buildup intended to stabilize Baghdad and create the conditions for achieving the objectives would not be fully in place until June and that all of the objectives would not be fulfilled until the year’s end.
Uh huh. I'm sure the mission will be accomplished by then.

And a week ago, the new U.S. Military commander in Iraq said success depended on a political solution.

Times of London:
The new US commander in Iraq has admitted that insurgents have intensified their attacks during the security crackdown in Baghdad, as he warned that there was no military solution to the nation’s bloody conflict.

General David Petraeus, appointed last month to oversee the White House’s fresh plan for Iraq, said that his troops were limited in what they alone could achieve and that some of the militant groups causing violence in the country would have to be engaged in political discussions....

“There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq. Military action is necessary to help improve security... but it is not sufficient. There needs to be a political aspect.”
Of course, the National Intelligence Estimate already predicted that the escalation would fail.

TPM Muckraker:
According to the just-released Key Judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, political reconciliation is likely a bridge too far over the next year and a half.

The Sunnis remain "unwilling to accept minority status" and believe the Shiite majority is a stalking horse for Iran. The Shiites remain "deeply insecure" about their hold on power, meaning that the Shiite leadership views U.S.-desired compromises -- on oil, federalism and power-sharing -- as a threat to its position. Perhaps most ominously, the upcoming referendum on the oil-rich, multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk threatens to be explosive, as the Kurds are determined to finally regain full control over the city.
And, as TPMM pointed out:
Oh, and one final thought: this is just what's unclassified. If past NIEs are any prologue, what remains classified is much, much grimmer than what we see here. More likely than not, this is the most optimistic presentation of the NIE possible.

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