Last December elections in Iraq could turn out to be essential. The Parliament elected last month will choose a president and a prime minister thus giving Iraq its first elected government according to the constitution adopted by referendum. That government could welcome a change in the foreign military presence and George W. Bush has said that the government would have more responsibilities with regard to the economic and political reconstruction of the country. The Iraqi armed forces should have a more active role in the struggle against the insurrection.
Elections in Iraq were preceded in the United States by a debate about the future of the American presence in Iraq. This represents a great opportunity to understand the role of the foreign presence in the country. Iraq is a country of considerable strategic challenges. A broken-down Iraq would be a calamity for the world. The American presence tends to contribute to that situation. There are two essential elements for “succeeding” in Iraq: a government willing to meet the necessities of the inhabitants as well as respecting the rights of the minorities, and an army answering the orders of the central government. What policy can favour such results?
For some, a quick withdrawal is crucial, but world consequences will be terrible. For others, the troops must stay, but the United States won’t bear the Iraqi burden for a long time. As a matter of fact, the Afghan example should be followed and the UN and NATO should participate more in the reconstruction for that would allow a reduction of the American troops.
“Focusing on ’Success’ In Iraq”, by Brent Scowcroft, Washington Post, January 16, 2006.