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Iraq's Future

11:46 PM, Dec 24, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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In the latest issue, Kim and Fred Kagan ask, "Is Iraq Lost?"

With administration officials celebrating the “successful” withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, thanking antiwar groups for making that withdrawal possible, and proffering outrageous claims about Iraq’s “stability,” “sovereignty,” and the “demilitarization” of American foreign policy even as Iraq collapses, it is hard to stay focused on America’s interests and security requirements. Especially in an election year, the temptation will only grow to argue about who lost Iraq, whether it was doomed from the outset, whether the current disaster “proves” either that the success of the surge was inherently ephemeral or that the withdrawal of U.S. troops caused the collapse. The time will come for such an audit of Iraq policy over the last five years, but not yet. For the crisis in Iraq is still unfolding, and the United States continues to have a huge stake in the outcome. The question of the moment is not “Who lost Iraq?” but rather “Is Iraq definitely lost?”

It certainly seems so. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki appears to be undertaking a deliberate and rapid strategy of driving the principal Sunni leaders out of his government and consolidating his personal control over parliament, the executive branch, and the security forces. He had been moving in that direction for several years, but generally with caution and occasional reversals. 

The rest of their article is here

On the same topic, Pete Wehner, at Commentary, writes: "What is happening in Iraq is sickening, in part because the gains came at such a high cost and in part because what is happening there was so avoidable. Obama was handed a war that was largely won. What America had given to Iraq is what the Arab scholar Fouad Ajami called “the foreigner’s gift.” But Iraq being Iraq, maintaining an American troop presence there, separate from engaging in combat operations, was necessary if Iraq was ever to become whole again. President Obama has undone much of what had been achieved there, almost in the blink of an eye. And when the history of his administration is written, it increasingly looks as if he will be fairly judged to have been the man who lost Iraq."

Wehner concludes: "In an administration full of failures, this one may well rank among the highest. The human cost to Iraq and the strategic damage to America may be unimaginable. And so unnecessary."

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