Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A New Plan In The Works For Iraq

Top U.S. commanders and diplomats in Iraq are completing a far-reaching campaign plan for a new U.S. strategy, laying out military and political goals and endorsing the selective removal of hardened sectarian actors from Iraq's security forces and government.

The classified plan, scheduled to be finished by May 31, is a joint effort between Gen. David H. Petraeus, the senior American general in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker. ...

The overarching aim of the plan, which sets goals for the end of this year and the end of 2008, is more political than military: to negotiate settlements between warring factions in Iraq from the national level down to the local level. In essence, it is as much about the political deals needed to defuse a civil war as about the military operations aimed at quelling a complex insurgency, said officials with knowledge of the plan.

The groundwork for the campaign plan was laid out in an assessment formulated by Petraeus's senior counterinsurgency adviser, David J. Kilcullen, with about 20 military officers, State Department officials and other experts in Baghdad known as the Joint Strategic Assessment Team. Their report, finished last month, was approved by Petraeus and Crocker as the basis of a formal campaign plan that will assign specific tasks for military commands and civilian agencies in Iraq. ...

The plan has three pillars to be carried out simultaneously... One shifts the immediate emphasis of military operations away from transitioning to Iraqi security forces -- the primary focus under the former top U.S. commander, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. -- toward protecting Iraq's population in trouble areas, a central objective of the troop increase that President Bush announced in January. ...

Next, the plan emphasizes building the government's capacity to function, admitting severe weaknesses in government ministries and often nonexistent institutional links between the central government and provincial and local governments. This, too, is in contrast with Casey's strategy, which focused on rapidly handing over responsibility to Iraq's government. ...

Finally, the campaign plan aims to purge Iraq's leadership of a small but influential number of officials and commanders whose sectarian and criminal agendas are thwarting U.S. efforts. It recognizes that the Iraqi government is deeply infiltrated by militia and corrupt officials who are "part of the problem" and are maneuvering to kill off opponents, install sectarian allies and otherwise solidify their power for when U.S. troops withdraw, said one person familiar with the plan. ...

(O)ne source of pessimism about the plan is whether the Iraqi government has the means and willpower to weed out sectarian officials and commanders, in an atmosphere complicated by rumors and ambiguous intelligence. ...

Also part of the plan is reaching out to grass-roots groups such as tribes, religious leaders and provincial administrators that are moving forward on reconciliation efforts, said Kilcullen, noting a tribal agreement in Babil province last week to end violence and a tribal movement in Anbar to oppose al-Qaeda. "We should not restrict our view of what a 'political' settlement is, solely to the Iraqi government -- civil society also has a really key role to play."

Efforts at negotiated settlements brokered by U.S. and Iraqi officials will extend to a broad spectrum of Iraqi groups, including some that have killed U.S. troops -- a source of consternation for some U.S. officers. But they will exclude groups such as al-Qaeda that are considered "irreconcilable," officials said. ...

The campaign plan is being formulated by a Joint Campaign Plan Redesign Team, which includes members of the JSAT as well as other military planners and civilian officials. The final document will be signed by Petraeus and Crocker.

The plan is a thick tome with more than 20 annexes on topics such as policy on Iraqi security forces, detainees, the rule of law and regional diplomatic engagement, one participant said.

2 Comments:

Blogger Meatball One said...

Shall be fun to read when released. Will ye be posting a link to a the pdf?

5/23/2007 9:27 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

Good one. ;-)

As of now, they are not planning on publicly releasing the classified plan.

5/23/2007 9:39 AM  

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