US Iraq Policy Essay

Published: 2019-12-18 10:32:08
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The Iraq War is the most critical challenge to United States policy today and is likely to stay so in the years ahead. United States has long term interests in the Middle East; therefore America cannot just hope to leave Iraq without a corresponding impact on relationships beyond Baghdad. (Baker III, Hamilton, 2007). While the situation in Iraq has been serious for the past few years, there is a decrease in violence especially after the surge plan effectively implemented by Patreus and the US forces. However military success will not guarantee lasting peace in the region.

There is thus a need for alternate policy which can bring about positive transformation in Iraq. Direct intervention by the United States in the Middle East has seldom brought viable results, however when ever the US has engaged with a coalition of partners particularly comprising of states of the region, it has succeeded in finding solutions to the challenges. Involvement of regional groupings may even allow the US to be a benign supporter rather than an active interventionist. One such regional organization is the Gulf Cooperation Council which can spearhead change in Iraq.

Need for Review of Iraq Policy US diplomacy in Iraq has been the cause of much debate and concern over the past few years ever since America undertook the enterprise of freeing Iraqi people from the tyrannical reign of Saddam Hussein. This policy though steered by some highly erudite secretaries of state as Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice has not met with success so far. (Tirman, 2007). Thus the challenge is not the people who are running the policy or the way they are doing it, but the policy per se.

The Iraq study group has strongly recommended a review of the American policy, diplomatic as well as political in the region along with a host of other measures to stabilize the State caught in a complex insurgency with many dimensions. (Baker III, Hamilton, 2007). Thus change of policy is inevitable. United States has a responsibility towards Iraq and its people in providing them a better future thereby restoring credibility of America not just in the Middle East but also in other parts of the World.

Given that global power dynamics rests on the fulcrum of the United States success or failure in Iraq would have much larger global or regional impact. (Baker III, Hamilton, 2007). The domestic effect of a breakdown in Iraq would also be severe with loss of morale and possibly increased isolationism which will be detrimental to American society and the people. With the present policy caught in a stasis, there is no option but to evolve a viable alternative. The Policy Action Proposed

The domestic equations in Iraq are invariably affected by regional relations within the Middle East. (Baker III, Hamilton, 2007). Iraq in many ways represents the aspirations as well as the confrontation within people and societies in the region. Thus the Shia Sunni divide or Arab-non Arab competition is played out in Iraq. Yet a strong factor in the crisis is Sunni apprehension of Shia dominated government in Baghdad which with growing resurgence of Iran and the role played by Syria could further complicate the conflict.

Obviously the answer is to propagate a regional diplomatic initiative to bring warring parties to abdicate violence and then sit together to thrash out an abiding peace agreement, concomitant with stabilisation and reconstruction. In this the lead role will have to be played by a regional agency with the United States acting as the facilitator rather than the mediator. (Kupchan, 2007). An abiding lesson in the Middle East be it in Iraq or in Lebanon has been that the United States cannot go it alone and needs assistance from regional as well as international players.

(Bodine, 2006). Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states which are Sunni will have to be central to the solution. So far these states have not taken active interest in facilitation and have remained mostly aloof which has created despondency in the Sunni people of Iraq. While there have been substantial individual contributions, these are not supported by the state directly. (Baker III, Hamilton, 2007) There is thus adequate scope for Gulf States to intervene in Iraq to contribute to internal harmony.

Agency for Implementation The detailed nuances for the suggested policy of regional intervention leading to better interaction between the communities in Iraq will emerge with greater deliberation. Concluding this without direct intervention of the United States would imply an agency for implementation. Such an agency may be either created afresh or one of the existing ones in the Middle East could well take the lead.

To establish a new agency will be highly challenging as it would imply building an organisation from scratch for effective resolution of an ongoing conflict which is a time consuming process. The option is to supplement an existing agency for which purpose the Gulf Cooperation Council appears to be ideal. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is officially known as Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, formed for promoting stability and economic cooperation in the Persian Gulf has Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as its member states.

The GCC largely comprises of states with Sunni population which have powerful incentives for diplomatic intervention, for these would not like a Shia dominated structure in place in Iraq, which neglects the aspirations of the sizeable Sunni population. So far it is believed that Saudi intervention has been at the individual level and also targeted at adopting a violent approach by fostering Sunni insurgency. It is time that GCC diplomacy be given a chance for which the Saudis appear more than willing. (Tirman, 2007).

A key goal of the GCC and the Sunni states was reflected in a ministerial meeting of the GCC+2 which are Jordan and Syria in January 2007. The states expressed the need to keep Iraq unified, thereby contributing to overall stability in the Middle East. (Tirman, 2007). However GCC states do not have enough political incentives to coagulate without American assistance, hence a facilitator role for the US is inevitable. Conclusion The United States policy for brining peace to Iraq will succeed by placing the regional grouping of the GCC in the forefront for evolution of a solution.

Given the linkages and the pay offs that will accrue from such an arrangement, it would be evident that a GCC led peace initiative in Iraq will bring about major changes in the perceptions in the State without undermining US influence in the region.


1. Baker, James A, III. Hamilton, H Lee. (2007). The Iraq Study Group Report. Accessed at www. usip. org/isg/iraq_study_group_report/report/1206/iraq_study_group_report. pdf on 10 March 2008. 2. Bodine, Barbara. (2006). Channel Surfing: Non-engagement as Foreign Policy. MIT Center for International Studies Audit of the Conventional Wisdom, 06-12. (August 2006).

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