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Kurdistan Strategy For Iraq

Reader comment on item: In Iraq, Stay the Course - but Change It

Submitted by Mike K. (Germany), Nov 19, 2006 at 17:50

Another possible Iraq strategy: The US withdraws its entire force into the Kurd-controlled region, where it builds several major, permanent bases. The Kurds go along because they know the US presence both guarantees their sovereignty and prevents a Turkish military invasion. Hunkered down in impregnable bases, with friendly Kurdish territory serving as an additional line of defense, US forces will no longer suffer daily attacks and casualties.

Once the Americans withdraw, full-fledged civil war is likely to erupt in the rest of Iraq. But this is part of the strategy. The US waits for the "rats" to emerge from their holes and fight it out to the death over control of the country. Thus, both Sunni and Shia extremists turn their bloody wrath on each other, rather on the hapless Americans, who have thus far been caught in the middle.

Eventually, one side or the other will remain standing. Surprise! This is when the rested US forces come "out of the shadows" to act as "spoilers," able to impose their will on the exhausted "winner." This would be the exact REVERSE of the present situation, where "insurgents" strike from the shadows as "spoilers" to upset the plans of the "winner." Only by maintaining permanent bases, preferably in Kurdistan, can the US continue to direct influence in the region. This includes steering political developments in Iraq, safeguarding the southern oil fields (Kirkuk/Mosul would already be secured by the Kurds), projecting power toward the Caucuses, stabilizing the Kurdish/Turkey border and, last but not least, maintaining leverage against Iran to thwart its nuclear ambitions.

The mere presence of hundreds of thousands of troops in the north would give the US lasting "de facto" influence/veto power over the political course ultimately taken by the Shia and Sunni areas. And ultimately, a prosperous and successful Kurdistan may in fact act as a model for the rest of the failed Iraqi state. There may be a political price to pay for maintaining a military presence, i.e. being accused of being an "occupier" (albeit at the invitation of a friendly country). But if the US withdraws from Iraq completely, it will have almost nothing to show for all the blood and treasure expended, no good excuse for the families of those who gave their lives. It would be a moral, political and public relations disaster, one leaving America's influence and standing in the region greatly reduced. A vacuum which Iran will be sure to exploit.

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