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Are they actually doing it? [Jul. 10th, 2008|06:12 am]
[mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]

It's been a long time since I've said anything about the Iraq war, and I think it's time to revisit the topic, in part.

Specifically, I'm interested in whether or not the security situation has improved to the extent that a real, lasting peace process can begin within Iraq itself.

There have been cease-fires before, and indeed there currently are several important ones ongoing: Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army has put the guns away, and the Sunni tribes of the west, especially Anbar province, are also not currently in a state of open hostility with the government. Major joint military operations have enabled the government to extend it's sovereignity to areas, including Sadr city, that have been off limits for years.

As a result of all this, the Iraqi government is getting more assertive. How effective that can be is still to be determined, but it is heartening to see Iraqi politicians being able to stand up to the US, especially on the most politically damaging issues for them like blanket legal immunity for American security contractors.

I'm curious whether the Bush administration is feeling a bit betrayed. After all, they probably didn't go to the fantastic expense of invading and occupying the country with the intention of creating a country that would defy them even before the dust had settled. But that's factional democracy for you, always thinking of their constituents first.

But, to return to the main thrust of the question, have we actually reached a point where an independent, democratic Iraq is an attainable goal? That it might be possible, if the cards continue to fall our way, that the US could be out of Iraq much sooner than the military had previously expected? It wasn't so long ago, after all, that we were hearing that a substantial American military presence would be needed in Iraq until 2018.

As is typical with these questions, I'd like to keep the scope here rather limited. Whether or not a success validates the actions of the American government or military isn't what I'd like to focus on, and can easily distract us from the point.

That said, what do other people think about the course of the Iraq war?

[User Picture]From: nathan_lounge
2008-07-10 02:27 pm (UTC)
Before I get all snarky, I agree with most of what you're saying. On a small, municipal level, communities are deinvesting from military support and there is a generally positive outlook as governmental services are increasingly brought online.

However, the two major issues still not addressed are economic and political. Historically war-torn countries are without an economic engine and so lack the financial undergirding to self-govern. Iraq hasn't seen a GDP growth since 2000 and presently they lack the economic infrastructure to provide for it's own citizens. Secondly, America is pretty negative about countries biting the hands that feed them though I think it's way too early to tell what's up on that front. The real issue is going to be a question of whether or not we'll need to reallocate forces in the next five years (re: Iran/Isreal) and if that'll leave the Iraq project unattended.

For what it's worth the economist agrees with you.

Though we did flake on giving back anbar two days ago.
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[User Picture]From: darkskywatcher
2008-07-10 05:39 pm (UTC)
I read the article weeks ago, and though I didn't remember it in detail, it was part of the reason I put the question forward in the first place. Rereading it now, I remember just how fabulous it was

It's worth pointing out that I am unsure of whether the change is real, which is the main motivation behind the question. After the very dark depths that that country has sunk to, I'm wondering whether it is possible that there could be a ray of light.
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[User Picture]From: nathan_lounge
2008-07-11 02:21 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: darkskywatcher
2008-07-11 10:18 am (UTC)
Which only leaves one question: why don't you?
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