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Relations between the United States and Iraq are at a crossroads: policy options DinarDailyUpdates?bg=330099&fg=FFFFFF&anim=1

Relations between the United States and Iraq are at a crossroads: policy options

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Relations between the United States and Iraq are at a crossroads: policy options Empty Relations between the United States and Iraq are at a crossroads: policy options

Post by claud39 on Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:50 am

[size=32]Relations between the United States and Iraq are at a crossroads: policy options[/size]


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Relations between the United States and Iraq are at a crossroads: policy options %D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%B8%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%86-257x241




During the last days before the death of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the “Quds Force” in the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of the “Popular Mobilization Authority” in Iraq, American officials have repeatedly indicated that the relationship with Iraq has reached a crossroads, other than The current crisis has been waiting for a long time. 

The Iran-backed militias, most notably the "Hezbollah Brigades", have effectively seized key areas and responsibilities, including the Prime Minister's Office, the government center / diplomatic area, the Baghdad airport, the various highways connecting Iran to Syria, and the country's airspace management .

 Meanwhile, the government allowed the militias to kill dozens of Iraqi protesters last year to prevent them from reaching the Iranian embassy, ​​but it stood aside when the militias attacked the US embassy on December 31.
Three American options
If the US policy towards Iraq is really at a crossroads, then what are the possible paths that Washington may follow?
Continuity. One option is to continue the current approach that requires protesters, religious and moderate leaders in Iraq to be largely left alone while trying to get their deviant democracy back on track. Under this scenario, the United States would only respond to serious attacks targeting American citizens or facilities, and turn a blind eye to non-lethal harassment attacks as it did before the missile attack by the “Hezbollah Brigades” militia on December 27. Killed an American contractor.

More meaningful militancy. Many US officials are now hinting at a second track that could impose extreme sanctions and deter anti-American elements in Iraq. 

This includes imposing sanctions on a much broader list of politicians and militiamen for their role in launching / facilitating attacks on US facilities or committing human rights violations against Iraqis. Washington can also withhold exemptions from sanctions on Iraqi gas and electricity purchases from Iran if Baghdad is unable to protect Americans and American property. In the kinetic field, the United States may take "preventive" measures in the future to protect its bases (as Defense Secretary Mark Esper pointed out on January 2), and perhaps even directly against Iran (as President Trump warned on December 31).

Separation. 

The third possible path is separation, either at the request of Iraq or because Washington has decided to suspend security, economic and diplomatic cooperation. However, no one in the US government defends this path, but it may become necessary if the Iraqi government orders American employees to exit through new legislation or if it fails to protect them from militia attacks. Either way, the consequences can be severe, either temporarily or in the long term. 

Security cooperation against the Islamic State may generally stop, and non-American members of the "Joint Task Force - Operation Solid Resistance /" The Inherent Solution Process "" alongside US forces - including most of the "G20" countries, will leave Baghdad's most allies Influential. The diplomatic importance of Iraq will decrease significantly, and economic cooperation may also stop (for example, the US protection of Iraqi assets from lawsuits; and the ability of Iraqis to conduct transactions in US dollars). 

At the same time, strong new policy options may emerge. Sanctions are likely to increase with less reason to reduce them. And the military options against Iran's proxies will increase, not only in front of the United States but also in front of Israel, which will make Iraq more similar to a free-fire zone to combat terrorism in Syria. Individuals active in Iraqi politics classified by the United States as terrorists will become more vulnerable to kinetic targeting. And the military options against Iran's proxies will increase, not only in front of the United States but also in front of Israel, which will make Iraq more similar to a free-fire zone to combat terrorism in Syria. Individuals active in Iraqi politics classified by the United States as terrorists will become more vulnerable to kinetic targeting. 

And the military options against Iran's proxies will increase, not only in front of the United States but also in front of Israel, which will make Iraq more similar to a free-fire zone to combat terrorism in Syria. Individuals active in Iraqi politics classified by the United States as terrorists will become more vulnerable to kinetic targeting.

Given the list of attacks and other lengthy violations targeting the US presence, the US government apparently concluded - and rightly so - that continuity is not an option and therefore tightening for a period of time may be useful. If the results are not satisfactory, then Washington appears ready to move towards a form of separation. Accordingly, what is required today is to find the right mix of continuity and meaningful militancy.
The United States' priorities in Iraq
Like most international alliances, Washington's goal is to help establish a sovereign, stable, and democratic Iraq. A group of prominent Iraqi actors shares this view: Shiite leader Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, President Barham Salih, Speaker of Parliament Muhammad Al-Halbousi, most of the [elements] of the protest movement that pervades the country today, many of the moderates in parliament, and political parties, And security forces. Washington can help them refocus this view by taking the following steps:
Ignore the withdrawal campaign. American officials should spare no additional effort to counter the continued efforts of the militias to present a parliamentary proposal on the expulsion of American forces. If such legislation is passed and implemented, then so be it. Iraq has every right to expel American forces, and military secession is an option that Washington may accept. Fortunately, the government is unlikely to evacuate U.S. forces, as demonstrated by the three failed efforts to do so in 2019.

Ensuring the security of American individuals. Trump administration officials should continue to send strong indications that serious attacks on US facilities and personnel - and not necessarily deadly attacks - will be faced with painful retaliation "in the time, manner and location we choose", in the words of US Defense Secretary Esper. 

This message was clearly conveyed by the severe damage caused by US air strikes against the bases of the "Hezbollah Brigades" on December 29, but it must be constantly emphasized. At the same time, preemptive strikes should only be launched in certain circumstances - that is, when attacks on American facilities are imminent, when pictorial evidence of these threats can be quickly detected and presented as an excuse, and when the risk of collateral damage is minimal.

Punish bad actors. Starting this month, the US government should increase the human resources available to the Treasury’s efforts to impose sanctions on a large group of Iraqi politicians and militia leaders under the powers of counterterrorism and "Magnitsky International Law". 

The best way to launch this campaign is by imposing sanctions on Faleh al-Fayyad, the long-standing National Security Adviser responsible for inciting a series of attacks against Iraqi protesters and American sites. As for widespread economic sanctions or other measures that may be considered collective punishment, they should be preserved as a deterrent against major attacks. The United States should also urge its European allies, such as Britain - whose soldiers were killed by "Hezbollah Brigades" before 2011 - to designate this group as a terrorist entity.

Re-establish security in the international zone and the airport. Days before the attack on the American embassy, ​​the Iraqi government handed over responsibility for the security of the region to the militia officer Abu Muntazer al-Husseini (his real name is Tahsin Abd Matar al-Aboudi), a member of the Iranian-backed "Badr Organization" who is the prime minister's advisor for "PMF" affairs. . Washington should invite countries with embassies in Baghdad to express their logical expectations that it be replaced by a reliable professional. Likewise, the current director of Baghdad International Airport, Ali Taqi, who is an intelligence official for the Badr Organization, recently entrusted field inspection services to aircraft to a fictitious company affiliated with the Hezbollah Brigades.

Re-impose command and control. As a result of the pressure exerted by the militias, many professional officers were expelled from the leadership centers in the Iraqi army, including the leader of the "counter-terrorism apparatus" Abdul Wahab al-Saadi and the commander of the "Anbar Operations" Mahmoud al-Falahi and the official in the "Baghdad Operations Command" Jalil al-Rubaie. And if capacity-building efforts continue, the United States should cooperate with the key partners of the "Joint Task Force - Operation Solid Resistance /" The Root-Solving Process "- Australia, Britain, Canada, France and Italy - to review security cooperation, restore the expelled leaders to their appropriate roles, and press for Bad leaders dismissed.

Return legitimacy to the government. Unless Iraq has a permanent government headed by a new prime minister and a new cabinet, the militia-shadow state will continue to run the country. Indeed, a constitutional stalemate would likely be the preferred final status for Iran-backed militias as it would keep them in the actual position of governance in the country. The passage of a new electoral law on December 24 gave Iraqis a powerful tool to revive their political system, as protesters can now turn to it in order to fulfill their demands through a democratic option. In order to reinforce this effort and facilitate early elections, Washington should continue to work with the United Nations, the European Union, and individual countries to support the appointment of an "Independent High Electoral Commission" in Iraq.



The Washington Institute




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claud39
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