Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Maliki and the US

This is just the conclusion of an excellent article about politics. Go read the rest if you want to understand the conclusions better.

BLACKFIVE: Foreign Relations: Maliki and the US: "Greyhawk and Matt are perfectly correct that Maliki's statements in the past have always been overconfident of his capacity to ask America to leave. It's also clear that his current situation favors a continuing presence of US allies, to continue to train his security forces in the short term; his air force in the medium term; and to provide a useful alliance and security guarantee v. Iran and others in the long term. You can trust the man to understand these matters, but in public, he must appear strong and defiant in order to retain the confidence of his governing coalition, and the broader Iraqi public.

If we recognize that, we will come to an arrangement that suits both our peoples, and can be sustained in the long term without political stress. Success in COIN requires a state of the type Iraq is starting to appear to be: strong, independent, and a legitimate voice for the interests of its population. That is how you get them to turn to politics as a way of expressing their interests.

The other thing successful COIN requires is the maintenance of popular will to sustain the effort. "An arrangement that suits both our peoples, and can be sustained in the long term" is just what we need to make a free Iraq concrete and permanent. This is the way to get it. What is done in private is one thing, but in public, Maliki and Iraq must be seen to "win."

The US does not need to "win." This is the government we have so carefully nurtured, and at such cost. We will win -- if they do."

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