HIGHLIGHTS OF THE
IRAQ STRATEGY REVIEW
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
Summary Briefing Slides
- Success in Iraq remains critical to our national security and to success in the War on Terror.
- Failure in Iraq would have disastrous consequences for the United States, the region, and our allies.
- There is no silver bullet solution in Iraq. Every option involves trade-offs across various risks.
Relationship to the War on TerrorEdit
- Iraq remains a central front in the Global War on Terror.
- Al-Qaida in Iraq has declared and shown its intentions to establish a caliphate in Iraq and then to expand the caliphate widely.
- Sowing sectarian violence in Iraq has been and remains the central strategy of al-Qaida in Iraq to reach the goal of creating a caliphate.
- The Freedom Agenda is advanced by the survival and strengthening of Iraq’s democratic institutions.
- Winning in Iraq will not end the War on Terror, but it will make success in the War on Terror much easier.
- Failing in Iraq would make succeeding in the War on Terror vastly more difficult.
The Regional PictureEdit
- Our allies in the region are concerned about negative Iranian influence in Iraq.
- Support for the Iraqi Government, however, can help stabilize the region.
- Iran has been cultivating influence in Iraq through all means at its disposal.
- Iran’s threat involves both lethal action and the burrowing of Iranian actors into Iraqi institutions.
- Syrian actions, while posing less of a strategic threat to Iraq than Iranian actions, exacerbate the tactical challenge faced by the Iraqi government.
- We have achieved many of our initial objectives in Iraq.
- Saddam Hussein’s regime is no longer an organized threat to Iraq, its neighbors, or the United States.
- Iraq is governed by a freely elected government under a permanent constitution.
- Democratic institutions have been established and are enabling Iraqis to shape their own state.
- Per capita incomes have increased ($743 to $1593 according to the World Bank, although inflation also has risen) and Iraq has performed under its IMF agreement.
- But the situation in Iraq has grown increasingly complex over the past 12 months.
- Al-Qaida terrorism and a vicious insurgency are now combined with sectarian violence.
- The national government is eager to take lead responsibility, but it is hampered by a lack of governmental capability and widening sectarian divisions.
- Power centers are devolving, with events outside the international zone becoming more relevant to national trends.
- The political process has shown signs of maturation, but meaningful reconciliation has yet to be achieved.
- Iraqi leaders have not yet achieved a single vision for a unified Iraq.
- Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have grown in effectiveness, but the levels of violence with which they must cope continue to increase.
- Professionalism and effectiveness are improving but are not yet consistent across the force.
- Some members of the ISF, notably the police, are contributing to sectarian violence.
- Despite more than 300,000 trained and equipped members of the ISF, substantially fewer numbers are present for duty on a given day.
- Combat losses, desertion, attrition, and leave account for the majority of those absent.
- The situation in Baghdad has not improved despite tactical adjustments.
- The situation in Baghdad determines nationwide trends; its stabilization has been seen as key to a unified Iraq.
- The Government of Iraq has not yet delivered promised essential services.
- Limitations on operations have hindered the execution of security plans.
- Force levels overall in Baghdad have been inadequate to stabilize a city of its size.
- Iraqi support for the Coalition has declined substantially, in part due to failure of security over the past year.
- In the absence of security, communities are turning to “self-help.”
- In his public and private statements, Prime Minister Maliki articulates a positive vision where all Iraqis are protected by the rule of law.
- Execution and delivery on pledges remain vital.
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