Stop Fighting and Start Talking, Junior

The UK Times Online assesses the success of the Iraq surge

‘US military achievement in Iraq has reached peak’
May 2, 2008

NEW YORK — An international think tank has called for fundamental political changes in Iraq, stressing that the US military surge which contributed to reduction in violence has reached the limit of what it can achieve.

“Without fundamental political changes in Iraq, success will remain fragile and dangerously reversible,” the International Crisis Group (ICG) asserts and emphasizes the importance of devising a different approach that focuses on pressuring the Iraqi government to agree to political compromises, engage in negotiations with fuller range of Iraqi actors, including still active insurgents and alter the regional climate.

The Sunni insurgency, ICG says, has been seriously weakened as previously marginalized Sunni tribes found in the US a new patron and turned against al-Qaeda.

“Increasingly divided and with several important groups co-opted by the US, the armed movements are a shadow of their former selves. As for al-Qaeda in Iraq, it appears in disarray, a victim of US attacks but also of its own brutal excesses,” it says but warns that these trends are not necessarily permanent and hardly equate with durable Sunni Arab acceptance of the political process.

The US policy, it says, is bolstering a set of local actors operating beyond the state’s realm or the rule of law and who impose their authority by force of arms.

“None of these points to progress toward a fully inclusive political process”, says Peter Harling, Crisis Group’s Iraq, Syria and Lebanon Project Director. “The US now seems intent on militarily defeating insurgents who, although they express deep misgivings about the current political system, are eager for genuine negotiations”.

Source / The Hindu News Update Service

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