US Iraq Elections Strategy Term Paper

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U.S./Iraq Elections Strategy

Since the 2003 invasion, Iraq has gone through a transformation, as the country has wrestled with issues of violence and division. Yet, despite these issues, Iraq has continued to attempt to move forward in the post Saddam Hussein era. Where, elections have taken place to create a democratically elected government that will respect the will of the people. While at the same time, there is continuing pressure from the United States for Iraqis to take charge of their own future. As a result, this will create a change in the relationship between the United States and Iraq. To fully understand these changes requires that you consider the challenges the U.S. government could face in Iraq moving forward. This will be accomplished by: examining the role that post election violence could play in the scheduled troop withdrawal, understanding the U.S. government's role in Iraq's future and the possibility of extending the withdrawal deadline if violence increases. Together, these different elements will highlight the overall possible challenges that could be faced in Iraq moving forward.

If post-election violence surges, will the Obama Administration continue its present schedule regarding the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq?

The Obama Administration is on track with its continued withdrawal of troops from Iraq, by the end of next year.

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However, post election violence has been consistently rising. A good example of this occurred when a series of bomb attacks took place on April 1st near the home of the Sheik Murdhi Muhammad al-Mahalawi. He was a Sunni politician who ran the parliamentary elections that took place not long ago.

This is significant because it shows how the post election violence is continuing to plague Iraq. The big question going forward will be: the degrees of violence, meaning that the White House expects violence to increase after the election. Yet, if it rises too much, any kind of time table for troop withdrawal could be delayed. A good example of this can be seen from 2005 to 2007, where after the Constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections, the total number of insurgency attacks rose from 1,500 to 3,500.

Term Paper on US Iraq Elections Strategy Assignment

This occurred because Al Quida and other insurgent groups tried to disrupt any kind of attempt to create an independent / stable Iraq. As a result, the total number of U.S. troops increased in an effort to improve the security situation in the country.

Currently, the levels of violence for the month of March 2010 came in at 1,487.

This is below the lowest levels seen in 2005. If there is an increase in violence beyond this point, the Obama Administration will have to delay any kind of timetable for withdrawing all troops. The reason why, is the possible fears that if U.S. forces leave Iraq unstable it will become a safe haven for terrorists organizations. To prevent such a situation from occurring means that any troop reduction will be tied directly to the overall levels of violence in Iraq.

What USG agencies will continue to play a vital role in Iraq? How do you envision the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency, United States Agency for International Development, Department of Justice, and others supporting USG interests in Iraq? At what point does Iraqi sovereignty become an issue regarding continuing USG interagency involvement in Iraq?

There are a variety of U.S. government agencies that will continue to play an important role in Iraq these include: the State Department, the CIA, USAID, the Justice Department and the Department of Defense. The role that they will play is an interconnected one of helping the Iraqi security forces and police to effectively deal with the different extremist groups. However, there must also be a focus on dealing with economic / social issues. This means that agencies such as USAID must work with local communities to effectively develop the delivery of different services such as: electricity, water, education and sewage. Then, this role must be expanded to address the short-term economic issues, the lack of economic opportunity / unemployment. This issue will help to reduce the levels of violence, by giving the local population a sense of purpose and hope about the future. Over the long-term, such an approach will create a more stable Iraq by addressing the social / economic issues in conjunction with security.

The point that Iraqi sovereignty will become an issue is when: the Iraqi government is able standup on its own, tackling the most pressing issues. Once this takes place, U.S. forces can be withdrawing as the Iraqi government would be stable enough to effectively manage the affairs of the country. However, another situation where Iraqi sovereignty could become an issue would be: on the overall role that the different agencies will play in the country. Where, perceived actions / responsibilities could be seen as over stepping the boundaries of Iraqi sovereignty. For example, the U.S. forces in Iraq are playing a vital role as far as security is concerned. Yet, if there were a series of military operations against insurgents and large numbers of civilians were killed, this could be viewed as inflicting upon Iraqi sovereignty. Over the course of time, this can lead to the perception that the Americans do not respect the territorial sovereignty of Iraq.

If post-elections violence surges, will the Iraq government allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq past the previously agreed dates of departure?

If the post election violence in Iraq continues to rise to extreme levels, the Iraqi government will allow American forces to remain in the country. The reason why, is U.S. forces have helped to provide a certain amount of stability to the government. This is important because without any kind of military presence in the country, Iraq more than likely would fall into a similar situation as Afghanistan. Where, after the Soviet Union withdrew the various insurgent groups would fight a civil war for control of power. This would lead to the eventual rise of the Taliban and Al Quida, as the country would be used as a training ground for terrorists. In the case of Iraq, if the violence was surging and the government refused to allow U.S. forces to stay. This would mean that a similar power vacuum would develop once they leave. To make maters worse Iraq is mainly divided along ethnic lines. These ethnic divisions could cause a widespread civil war to engulf the region. This is because if one of the particular groups were able to gain control of a particular area or region, it could bring Iraq's neighbors into the conflict. A good example of this can be seen when Turkey was making incursions into Iraq. Where, Turkey was claiming that separatist rebels (the PPK), who wanted an independent Kurdish state, was using Northern Iraq as a staging area to conduct attacks in Turkey.

While, the operation ended fairly quickly, the possibility that it could escalate the situation was very real. If the U.S. forces were to withdraw from the country with increasing amounts of violence. This would mean that a variety of neighbors who support a particular ethic group will become involved. Then, when you add in the possibility of oil revenues, means that situation could become even more confusing.

Once this takes place, it could mean that Iraq will go through a situation that is a combination of what happened in Afghanistan and Lebanon. Where, a brutal civil war is taking place, which is drawing in support from the various nations in the region.

Then, when you include the large potential revenues from oil, means that there is a financial incentive for the various groups, to go all out in achieving their objectives. At which point, it is logical to assume, that the possibility of an extremist group such as Al Quida being able to prevail increase. If this were to happen, it would create a radical Islamic state that could attempt the same kind of tactics in other countries throughout the region. Because of this possible scenario occurring, is why if the violence rises in Iraq, U.S. troops would more than likely be allowed to stay past the agreed upon the deadline. A good example of this can be seen with recent comments from Admiral Mike Mullen who said, "Conditions could change in that period of time. And, if we get to a point where this SOFA is agreed to, and have a relationship with the government of Iraq tied to it, which we will continue to have discussions with them over time, as conditions continue to evolve."

This is significant, because it underscores, how if the levels of violence rise in Iraq, U.S. forces will be allowed to stay longer.

Clearly, there a number of possible situations that could determine the overall role that the U.S. government will play in Iraq during the future. This is because of the interconnected duties / responsibilities that the different agencies are playing in the country. Where, they must not only help the Iraqi government tackle the varying levels… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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