Saturday, May 20, 2017

Let's Avoid Iraq War 3.0, Shall We?

A think tank report calls for up to 20,000 American troops to remain in Iraq after ISIL is defeated as an organized state within Iraqi territory:

“My hope is the experience of 2014 may prove that … it may be worth paying a political price for keeping U.S. forces in the country,” Mr. Brands added, regarding acceptance of a prolonged American presence by Iraqis.

Iraqi Shia will likely remain split over support for the U.S. postwar mission, while Iraqi Sunnis and Kurds will embrace the deal, since they see American forces as a necessary “balance against Iranian influence,” Mr. Edelman added.

American forces will help the internal politics by helping to ensure that disagreements are resolved by politics and rule of law rather than by guns.

With American support for this, the leader of Iraq will feel far less pressure to fire effective military leaders and replace them with loyal leaders regardless of military competence.

Restraining Iranian influence and rolling it back will be important. If we are serious about opposing Iran's regional domination ambitions, we will retain a robust force to support Iraq.

And without our presence, will the Kurds and Sunnis of Anbar want to remain within Iraq? If they leave, natural allies to oppose Iran's influence in a portion of Iraq's Shia population will be lost.

Our continued military presence will also allow us to monitor the Iraqi officer corps to avoid the surprise of mid-2014 when we discovered that a politicized officer corps was unable to lead their troops to resist the ISIL uprising across the north (on top of the earlier failure to block the western uprising).

Remember, it can take a long time to reform the military of a defeated dictator:

The Bundeswehr has taken on a spring cleaning operation. Revelations that two soldiers had been planning a "false flag" terrorist attack in Germany - and to lay the blame on asylum seekers - led to wider questions firstly about the prevalence of neo-Nazis in the German military, and then about the way the Bundeswehr deals with connections to its Nazi-era forerunner: Adolf Hitler's Wehrmacht.

Let's remain in Iraq this time.

Or did we enjoy the Iraq War and Iraq War 2.0 so much that we are eager for Iraq War 3.0?

UPDATE: From Strategypage, after ISIL comes the Iranian threat.