In his speech last week, George W. Bush correctly said that the United States had a vital interest in remaining in Iraq until the country was secure, viable and democratic. He also appropriately noted evidence of the progress in the country. But if he actually wants to avoid defeat in Iraq, he should recognize that there is no purely military solution there.
A political strategy to defeat the insurgency requires six elements:
- The United States must know who it is dealing with. It is impossible to negotiate with the kamikaze Islamics or followers of Saddam Hussein who operate from Syria. They must be killed, captured or cut off from their bases.
- These groups, however, are supported by Iraqis who have felt humiliated by the new political order. They have to be reinserted into the political process.
- To reassure that there will be no longer permanent American bases in Iraq.
- To fix an approximate timetable for withdrawal of our troops.
- To negotiate with certain tribal groups linked to resistance.
- To discuss directly with the rebels through the U.N. and, especially, through Lakhmar Brahimi.

Source
Los Angeles Times (United States)

Beat the Insurgents by Talking to Them», by Larry Diamond, Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2005.