Sunday, July 29, 2007

The key things

In order to judge whether Patraeus strategy is going to work or not, there are some key items we need to understand and evaluate.
  • Does the plan bring security to Iraq. This one is what I'm spending the most time on watching, as it seems to me that it has to happen first. We're seeing this working even better than most people envisioned when Petraeus was sent out in February. The Iraqi tribes turning on Al Qaeda really had a huge influence here as they add more military on the ground fighting the terrorists. The Iraqi Army and police stepping up are big keys too. That's why we want to watch how they are as working units.
  • Will there be an Iraqi government of substance that starts to emerge and provide a viable government for the Iraqi people. This means nationwide, not just in Baghdad. Seeing Maliki go out to Diyala province was a great sign on this front. Anbar province is also joining in with the national government too. Having the provinces form their own local governments and police forces is a great answer to this issue. They stop the sectarian fighting and become "Iraqi's first". This one looks to be going surprisingly well too.
  • The economic element also needs to develop. We need to see progress with electricity, water delivery, fuel delivery, medical aid, and sewage/waste disposal. The people of Iraq need to feel that the fight is worth fighting and life needs to improve for them or they will tend to fall back into "my tribe against all other tribes" mentality. This one is happening also. You will see me link you to new power station posts, or medical aid stations, or water pumping stations from time to time because this needs to be noticed too.
  • The Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Christian part needs to be watched also. If the Iraqi's feel they are Sunni first, then Iraqi, then this strategy will have a lot less chance of success. We really need them to feel that they are Iraqi Sunni, or Iraqi Kurd, or Iraqi Christian, or Iraqi Shia. Be Iraqi first. That is the answer to the last key point.
  • Nationalism. We need to see the Iraqi's band together and make a country. Everything is laid right out there before them. The Iraqi victory in the Asia Cup soccer tournament was huge in this regard, and again, nothing that Petraeus could have counted on. The Iraqi people do this one on their own. We only need to see if it happens. I don't see us having any influence on this directly, but huge influence on this through the other key items.
In my opinion, these are what we need to watch and that's what my scattered post links are pointing to. I know it's hard to piece together without a map, but I just try to see if anything fits the keys when I post....

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