Saturday, 28 August 2010

Withdrawal from Iraq - an In-depth Study, Part 1-2

On Thursday 19.08.2010, the last US combat brigade left Iraq according to Al Jazeera. This is a part of the SOFA agreement and existing policies of the Obama administration (viii, ix) which leaves 50.000 US troops in an advisory role, to be finally withdrawn by December 2011.

In April 2009 I wrote a policy paper recommending a withdrawal along these lines. It was merely intended to be informative and might serve in such a capacity as the next phase "Operation New Dawn" is initiated. Please notice that the paper is to be read as based on the available intelligence and published information at the time of writing.

The paper will be published in two instalments, the first concerning the withdrawal itself and the second historical and political background.

Withdrawal from Iraq
an in-depth study

Part 1 - Executive Summary
Part 2 - Policy Recommendation
• 2.1. The proposed policy
• 2.2. Current policy
• 2.3. Argument for the new policy

Part 1 – Executive Summary

• The policy proposes a complete and responsible withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by December 2011.

• Conditions in the region favours a withdrawal and US goals in the region are achieved.

• The main effect of the implementation of the policy will be improved international relations.

• The policy is expected to meet little opposition as the legislation is passed and there is a governmental consensus on the issue.

Part 2 – Policy Recommendation

2.1. The proposed policy

At the time of writing, the US is engaged in a war in Iraq, one that has dragged on for 6 years. The war has suffered from mission creep and while international backing was originally low, even US public opinion has turned against further commitment in Iraq (i). As a candidate for presidency, the President promised to responsibly withdraw troops from Iraq within 16 months of his inauguration, and this memorandum explores issues related to this withdrawal and in particular pertaining its degree of responsibility (ii).

This memorandum proposes a policy of complete US military withdrawal from Iraq within a maximum timeframe of 35 months from the presidential inauguration. There are four key aspects of this policy; the extent of the withdrawal, the timeframe within which to operate, the state of Iraq upon complete withdrawal and the nature of future US-Iraq relations. The further aim of this policy will be an improvement of international relations, chiefly to NATO allies and the UN but also to the Arab and Muslim world. As an added benefit the policy will disentangle the US from a conflict which has created an additionally increased domestic resentment. Coupled with the President’s energy security agenda for achieving energy independence, the policy will attempt to limit US unilateral political, military and economic involvement in the region, though still keeping its role as an honest broker. This role should preferably be filled with UN backing, emphasising the need for improved international relations. This aim should be achieved through a responsible withdrawal combined with an extended inclusion of Iraq in the US foreign aid programme and a more prominent UN role. However, to coax the UN into this role, the US must signal a renewed effort towards multilateralism. Therefore, the argument for this policy will focus on security, economy, international relations and democracy (iii).

How should the US proceed to achieve this aim? At present, there are 142.000 US troops deployed in Iraq, according to the Department of Defense (iv). In addition, there are several private contractors (like Blackwater with their 20.000-30.000 employees (v)) who are subject to licensing by the Iraqi government as well as the State Department (vi). These will be withdrawn on a case to case basis. Finally there are about 4000 British troops in Iraq, however this memorandum will limit itself to discussing the suggested policy, which only affects US troops (vii). The 142.000 US troops should be withdrawn entirely by December 2011 in accordance with the US-Iraq SOFA at a pace as advised by the Department of Defense (viii). It is advisable, and indeed favoured by military analysts, that US troops leave Iraqi cities by the summer of 2009 and Iraq no more than a year later, leaving only a residual force of 30.000-50.000 to advise the Iraqi government and military and conduct counter-terrorism (ix). This force should be withdrawn by December 2011 (in accordance with the SOFA) thus successfully implementing this policy within the suggested timeframe.

The challenges an implementation of this policy will face are mainly pertaining to regional security. Will a democratically elected Iraqi government be able to sustain and enforce democratic institutions in the face of internal and external enemies, these chiefly being al Qaeda and other sub-state sectarian groups? To what lengths should the US go to prop up and secure economic involvement and the government in Iraq without creating regional resentment against such an intended regional pillar of Arab democracy, thus creating obstacles for its spread? These issues will be addressed in this memorandum.

2.2. The Current Policy

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks US foreign policy towards the region changed dramatically. Within a month the invasion of Afghanistan was launched and a new set of foreign policy principles started to emerge. New terms such as the “War on Terror” and the “Bush Doctrine” were soon coined and used frequently. Reshaping US foreign policy to counter a not so new though dramatically expanded threat of terrorism, the Bush administration had to adopt an increasingly aggressive militarist approach to foreign policy in the region, later to be coupled with a damaging unilateralism. The new foreign policy had to target subnational, viral pockets of hostility and an untraditional and diverse enemy.

To understand the Bush administration’s policy towards Iraq, it is necessary to grasp the implications of the Bush Doctrine. Most major US foreign policy doctrines are connected to major foreign policy events to specific presidents; the Truman Doctrine was a response to Communist encroachment, the Nixon Doctrine was a response to the mounting costs of the Vietnam War and the Eisenhower Doctrine of intervention was a response to the notion of Soviet encroachment during Suez Crisis. The Bush doctrine bears some resemblance to the latter of these. It was presented in a publication by the National Security Council a year after the attacks of 9/11 and is a realist, liberal theory based on primacy . It aims to counter terrorist threats to the US by striking at potential enemies and their supports preemptivly and assisting what the strategy calls “failing states” by regime change and spread of Democracy (xi). The doctrine not only spans a wide and vague area of objectives but it also puts a tremendous obligation on the US to counter a wide array of what statements of the brand above defines as enemies of the state.

Initially, the regime change and spread of Democracy seemed inferior to the need for a swift show of force, determination and deterrence. However, with a more explicitly coined Bush Doctrine, this became a major guideline in Iraq making the invasion the first test of the doctrine. Harking back to the Truman Doctrine and Kennan’s theories of containment, promotion of regime change had become a sporadically applied method of conducting foreign policy, especially in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region. The Clinton presidency saw this policy shead the old, outdated baggage of containment and redefine as well as apply regime change (xii). Armed with “The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002” the Bush administration lead its “coalition of the willing” without UN support into Iraq charging Saddam Hussein of possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), links to al Quaeda and to the 9/11 terrorist attacks (xiii). All these claims were later disproven, but the regime change was completed with the former dictator being executed for genocide. The first post-Saddam general election was held in late 2005 and provincial elections shortly after the US presidential inauguration in 2009.

With regard to prevention of further terrorist attacks on the US, its citizens and/or interests the doctrine states that “the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively in exercising [their] inherent right of self-defense” (xiv). Clay Ramsay, whose polling forms part of the basis for this paper, as well as most encyclopedic dictionaries defines the term of preemptive act as one in response to an imminent threat, whereas a preventive act is one in response to a possible, though not imminent attack (xv). Therefore the mandate of the Bush Doctrine is strikes at immediate threats, such as al Qaeda cells harboured by the Taliban of Afghanistan were percieved to be. The “Operation Iraqi Liberation” or invasion of Iraq, however, was as we shall see a preventive war, and so it was the departure from the guidelines of the doctrine which to some degree caused the drop in public and international support for US foreign policy and the soaring level of unilateralism.

Following the invasion of Iraq and fall of Saddam, the Bush administration’s foreign policy focused on increasing security by countering the insurgency by amongst others al Qaeds, then for the first time appearing in Iraq. Although the Bush Doctrine to some extent favours non-military intervention, it is widely connected to military sanctions such as the war in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the surge of 2007, which greatly decreased sectarian violence (xvi). Further foreign policy events of 2007 were a US-Iraqi agreement to allow US companies to take an active part in the rebuilding of Iraq and the president’s veto of a war-funding bill which would have meant withdrawal from Iraq (xvii). The rebuilding effort in the former included private contractors such as CACI, Titan, Blackwater and K.B.R.-Halliburton whose presence and affiliation with the US government lead to widespread controversy (xviii). Finally, as the UN mandate for US military presence in Iraq expired by the end of 2008, Bush signed a status of forces agreement (SOFA, an executive agreement) with Iraq, committing the US to effectuate a complete withdrawal from Iraq by the end of 2011. This agreement is further elaborated in section 2.1 and 3.3.

Critique and defense of the present policy

During the Gulf war then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell implemented what was to be dubbed the Powell Doctrine. Based on the lessons of the Vietnam War, this stated, among other criteria, that in order to ensure success and minimize loss US military deployment should have a clear aim and purpose, a clear exit strategy to avoid mission creep and strong public support (xix). Due to the opposition between then Secretary of State Powell and neo-cons and warhawks in the cabinet, and fuelled by fear of WMD in particular, the Bush administration chose to disregard the doctrine. Despite this, the criteria correspond to the main charges against the present policy and could consequently serve as the counts upon which their foreign policy towards Iraq had to be defended.

Regarding the first criterion, the aim of the invasion was to topple Saddam and introduce democracy thus stabilizing the region. However, the aim and purpose of the policy was critisised for not being clear or accurate enough, and the criticism mounted as US military presence in Iraq outlasted all estimates. The three reasons for entering Iraq, as presented in The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution, were the Bush administration’s main defense for this policy.

Saddam was thought to possess weapons of mass destruction. However, a study based on "The Operation Iraqi Freedom documents", 48 000 boxes of captured documents, audio- and videotapes and interviews with captured Iraqi officials, concluded that Saddam did not possess any WMD of military significance (those in his possession being leftovers from the early 90's). This study, "Iraqi Perspectives Project", was commissioned by the US Joint Forces Command and concluded that the dictator’s reason for being vague on this topic was a concern for threats to his regime from neighbouring states and fractions within Iraq (xx). Thus the clarity of this purpose was severly questioned.

Also, Saddam’s links to al Qaeda proved to be a red herring. Intelligence did not support the allegation of an operational cooperation between Saddam and al Qaeda, and The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report of June 2008 concluded that statements to this effect made by the President and Secretary of State were “not substantiated by the intelligence" (xxi). However, Saddam did have links to an array of smaller terrorist groups, such as the Hamas and Hezbollah, which may have rendered the purpose some validity, but the dictator was a secular ruler who regarded militant Islam as a threat to his authority (xxii).

With no link to al Qaeda there could be no link to 9/11 either, and mission creep was now a reality, failing to fulfil the second criterion of the Powell Doctrine. This was justified by the Bush administration on the grounds that Iraq was not yet able to sustain itself politically and militarily (xxiii). Thus the justification of the foreign policy shifted to the second pillar of the Bush Doctrine, the spread of democracy. This agenda was the only really applicable one, as the US already were heavily entangled in Iraq and any withdrawal at that stage would achieve very little in terms of public support, military and foreign policy political prestige. The three reasons of the “Authorization” were the basis on which the US departed from UN policy and started their unilateralist run, and defending continued presence by referring to the spread of democracy would have a better ring in the ears of the international community. This was also the reason for Bush’s 2007 veto.

The spread of democracy also struck a note with a war-weary public. Following 9/11, international society had gravitated towards executive foreign policy as a rally point in time of crisis. However, as the political stakes got higher and as foreign policy issues such as US presence in Iraq was considered to lie closer to national security than to the interests of international society, the more unilaterally the US acted. It could do so due to domestic public support, congressional support and fear, but as time wore on the executive, whose foreign policy had been a channel of appraisal and support, became a channel of critique (xxiv). By the time of the signing of the SOFA, Iraq had become a hot potato, although democratic development had allowed for some public support of US presence in Iraq.

2.3. Argument for the new policy

During his run for presidency, the President used the withdrawal from Iraq as a political argument. Indeed, his election promise states that:

"Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 – more than 7 years after the war began" (xxv)

Tapping into domestic and international sentiment, the President committed himself to ending US involvement in Iraq. He therefore has an obligation to his voters to follow through on his election promise. In addition to this, the President has repeatedly during his senatorial careeer opposed involvement and favoured withdrawal from Iraq, and this election promise therefore fits his political and electorial base (xxvi). His is a very specific election promise; it clearly states the properties in terms of temporal and physical dimensions its fulfilment should possess. Any considerable divergence in timeframe or extent will diminish the sense of executive accountability both domestically and internationally. Following the Bush presidency and the decline in public support for and prestige of the executive office, the implementation of an effective policy to effectuate the process of fulfulling this election process is vital both to the office of President domestically and, as we will see below, to the international perception of US executive consistency. Below I will argue the soundness of this policy by looking at aspects concerning national and regional security, economy, international relations and the spread of democracy.


Before the 2000 presidential election Condoleezza Rice pointed out that "[the military] is not a political referee. And it is most certainly not designed to build a civilian society" (xxvii). This implies that before a withdrawal can be deemed what the President in his election promise called responsible, issues of regional and national security has to be resolved. The major issue for regional security is whether the Iraqi government is able to sustain itself militarily against domestic and foreign threats (which used to be former president Bush and several conservatives’ main concern). Several central analysts and politicians have made statements to this effect. By 14 January 2009 coalition forces had trained 550 000 Iraqi Security Service (ISS) personnel, 4 per coalition soldier and the chairman of the Iraqi parliament's defence committee, Abbas al-Bayati, claimed that they had “the ability to deploy any needed troops to any hot area in Iraq [and were] capable of controlling the situation in the country" (xxviii). Defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari concurred, but emphasised a continued reliance on US intelligence and air support (xxix). Indeed, these are, as mentioned in 2.1, some of the units scheduled to be the last to leave Iraq. This view is backed up by representatives of the coalition forces. In a Defense Department press release as early as November 2008 coalition spokesman U.S. Army Brig. Gen. David Perkins and Brig. Johnny Torrens-Spence of the British army, deputy commander general of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, seemed to hold Iraqi defense in high regard citing the reduction of attacks, casualties and enemy capabilities as proof (xxx). Indeed, it is a testimony to the efficiency of the ISS that the recent provincial elections were held without any considerable violent disturbances and Iraqi security forces increasingly prove themselves able to cope with any insurgency. Furthermore, there is another benefit of transferring the responsibility for keeping the peace in Iraq. Any civil unrest will be directed at or handled by representatives of the perpetrator’s own country, and the lesser the sheen of foreign influence the better. As the UK Secretary of State for Defence put it; "It is one thing for a nationalist Shi’a militiaman to shoot at a [coalition] soldier whom he perceives as an occupier. It is quite another for him to shoot a soldier wearing the uniform of his own country." (xxxi)

As the ISS is found to be increasingly able to avert violence many issues of US national security is resolved, as al Qaeda presumably should be unable to gain influence or launch attacks against the US or US personnel from Iraq. The increased safety of US personnel is confirmed by the decreasing death toll, with hostile death toll below half the average for 2008, and with 12 soldiers dying from accidents and just 4 by hostile action as well as a decrease in Iraqi civilian deaths in Jan. 2009, the Iraq War seems to be all but over (xxxii). Furthermore, a decrease in troop levels might be beneficial to national security as lesser contact with US forces breeds lesser ill will towards the US. Following the Cold War, neo-isolationists claimed that this was a perfect opportunity to return to a non-interventionist foreign policy, and it seems that a withdrawal, which would fit this category, would decrease the terrorist threat to national security by reducing military presence and political restraint in the region (xxxiii). Neo Conservatives argue that a withdrawal of troops would encourage terrorist expansion in Iraq, and cite the recent flare of violence in Mosul. However, violence in general has declined and a peak upon withdrawal is nigh unavoidable. Furthermore, withdrawal removes some of the motivation for terrorist expansion and support for such groups. Finally, the SOFA opens up for the return of US troops on the request of the Iraqi government and the risks of withdrawal might well be outweighed by its boons . Indeed, some other boons can be drawn from national security in implementing this policy; a stable relationship to a democratic, oil producing Arab country and achieving a sense of domestic and international unity and common purpose in reshaping foreign policy to focus on one main opponent, presumably Afghanistan.


In 1993, then National security adviser Tony Lake claimed that “Democratic enlargement has economics at its heart” (xxxiv). Indeed, most economic issues of interest to the suggested policy of withdrawal following this “democratic enlargement” have to do with expansion of free trade and the rebuilding of Iraq. Legally, the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 among other things gives the President powers to implement policies that include the provision of assistance to the rebuilding of Iraq, and also the SOFA opens for introduction of international economic actors in Iraq (xxxv). Some of this task falls on the State Department, more specifically the USAID and Department of State governance programs, but some will be and is being outsourced to private contractors (see ch.2.2) as the Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations FY2009 states that:

"…building and sustaining infrastructure will no longer be a substantial element of the U.S. foreign assistance strategy for Iraq. The Iraqi Government is expected to continue significant capital budget investments while the United States assumes a greater advisory role and provides support for economic and political reforms." (xxxvi)

What is expected to recieve funding through the budget is the Iraqi-American Enterprise Fund, a trust fund initiated by the Bush administration, though funding is pending congressional approval. This targets Iraqi enterprise and opens for private investment, and through microfinance loans programs, foreign banks will invest in Iraq’s largest employer, agriculture, thus gaining implicit political influence (xxxvii). With regard to the currently government sponsored private contractors, at present rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure, a separate policy will have to decide whether to keep them on government payroll as advisory agents, pull them out or cut them loose, possibly allowing them to enter Iraqi service. However, it is advisable to pull these out with the last troops as this will be in accordance with the above statement and avoid leaving US interests and citizens prone to danger demanding military intervention (see “International Relations” below).

This expansion of the free market traditionally goes down well with the Republican South and West, providing a continuity across executive schisma. Throughout the 20th century, historians claim, the US’ main foreign policy goal has been the spread of capitalism in order to expand this free market for the spread of American goods, though Marxist historians see this as a sign of domestic economic weakness, claiming the need for foreign resources is due to failures in capitalism itself (xxxviii). It is true that the US oil consumption and the need for stable relationships to stable oil producing countries has been the main driving force for US activities in the Middle East. With both petroleum consumption and prices rising, this is not only a political and economical problem but also an environmental one (xxxix). However, this may partly be remedied through the administration’s environmental agenda in combination with the present financial crisis. Programs to expand the electric grid and bail out car manufacturers not only creates jobs but also gives government leverage to have industry implement environment-friendly technology such as hybrid cars, reducing dependence on petroleum. This reduces the US’ economic dependence on oil producing countries in the Middle East (another soaring graph (xl)) and therefore their need for political or economic interference in the region (xli).

It is quite clear that in the wake of the withdrawal there must remain some degree of US support for the Iraqi government and this will largely have to be of an financial character in order to reestablish Iraqi political and financial infrastructure. The withdrawn support for Afghanistan following the Afghan-Soviet war in the 1980s left the country a breeding ground for anti-American sentiment, political sectarianism and subversion and ripe for terrorism. Condoleezza Rice emphasised that the military in itself was not suitable for recunstructing a civilian society and although Powell was confident the US could topple Saddam Hussein unilaterally he doubted their ability to single-handedly rebuilt his country. Therefore this support has to be coupled with a multinational effort, and the withdrawal of troops may increase the political currency needed to munster this support.

International relations

The renewal of US diplomacy to muster international support and effort in Iraq was a central goal in the President’s Camp Lejeune speech in late February 2009, and implementation of this policy would constitute an important step towards achieving this goal (xlii). This means a reapproachment to international allies, opponents and constellations such as NATO and the UN. It also entails distancing oneself from the unilateralism and to the Bush Doctrine of preventive war.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks foreign support for US foreign policy was considerable. This was attributed to a sense of sympathy and an acceptance of the theory that the US must respond proportionally to challenges: a threat must be countered with a threat, an attack must be countered with one. Any disproportionate response would have generated either domestic or international discontent, and foreign support was displayed in the participation of NATO and UN allies. However, international support for US foreign policy dwindled with the extension of the War on Terror to Iraq. The disregard for the rules-based world order to which much of this international community adhered, shown through the circumvention of UN resolutions and human rights principles in facilities such as the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, lead to soft balancing by other democratic states such as the members of the UN Security Council (xliii). Early 2009 saw the Bush administration descend from power with historically low domestic and international approval ratings.

The ascent of a president who made change a central theme during the election process started a new trend in both domestic and foreign public support for the executive and, by extension, US foreign policy. This policy seeks to increase the momentum of this trend by providing the remedy for many of the ills brought on by the Bush administration’s foreign policy towards Iraq and the international community. The policy offers a chance to “have the cake and eat it too”; a responsible withdrawal from Iraq within this timeframe would entail accomplishment of US goals as well as increase in prestige and public support. This is a development from earlier engagements such as Vietnam and Somalia, which left US goals unaccomplished but increased public support for the executive to varying extent. A considerable cause for the drop in foreign and domestic support can be attributed to this mission creep (as “Operation Iraqi Freedom” started to exceed the durations of most 20th century military conflict). Indeed, avoiding mainfest foreign policy disasters such as “the Vietnam Syndrome" of mission creep is one of the main effects of the implementation of this policy as well as a key indicator of presidential foreign policy success (xliv). It has the added benefit that withdrawal of troops will prevent foreign and domestic public antagonism towards later deployment.

Bearing in mind that the policy will have to remedy the discontent raised in disregarding the protests from UN and NATO allies, which were based in a broad public consensus within these countries, the US will have to guarantee that the withdrawal will not render Iraq prey to domestic or foreign agression, or even isolationist sentiment. If the US security council is going to continue its support for the UNAMI (United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq) and UNSCR 1770 and 1546, the US will have to couple its withdrawal with a responsible transferral of power from its Multi-National Force Iraq (MNF-I) to the ISS (xlv). With the added re-opening of Iraqi markets, following the disruption of e.g. the UN Oil-for-food programme, this policy will redress public disregard for unilateralism and whatever offense might be taken from the disruption of economic activity or effectively combating terror thus reapproaching multilateralism.

It is advisable to adhere to the suggested timetable for withdrawal with regard to regional public relations as well. Too much or prolonged interference gives the Arab/Persian world an impression of the US as an imperialist puppet-master and deepens anti-American sentiment, and it might also give the impression that an Arab democracy is unable to sustain itself. Too little interference, on the other hand, would have the US appear an indecisive, aggressive unilateralist without purpose unable to preserve internal and external security in Iraq as well as rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure. Furthermore, if a reapproachment to the international community is not made, regional non-democratic states see how unilateral action by the US antagonises fellow democracies and bogs down US foreign policy and military action. Such states might see this as an opportunity to pursue their own goals, and this also undermines both the purpose of the War on Terror and the spread of democracy.

If we see the international relations concerns in the light of isolationism and internationalism we can see that a withdrawal does not contitute a sign of isolationism, as one might assume, but rather a renewal of internationalism. Rather than, like offensive realists, seeing the exercise of soft power by other democratic states as the rise of a threat to US global hegemony and withdrawal as a manifestation of the detested post-Soviet era isolationism, it should be seen as a cue for the approach towards liberal internationalism (xlvi). As Sandy Berger pointed out; “the world counts on the US to be a catalyst of coalitions and a broker of peace” (xlvii). The US will still be able to exercise power and pursue its interests, but the Iraq war has shown that this power needs to be exercised through the institutions of, and in accordance with the rules of, the international community. Thus, as explained above, a withdrawal would be a sound policy in the pursuit of improved international relations.

The Spread of Democracy

With links to al Qaeda, 9/11 and WMD dismissed the main agenda for US presense in Iraq was the spread of democracy. Therefore, Iraq has to be a classifiable democracy before the US can withdraw. With general and provincial elections in December 2005 and January 2009, the country certainly fills the criterion of being ruled by elected representatives. Are, however Iraqis true democrats in the American sense? In 2005, Mark A. Tessler of Michigan University, professor in political science, distinguished between four forms of Arab democrats (see box 1), and of these, Iraqis seem to fall somewhere between the first and second distinction (xlviii). The Iraq voter turnout for the 2009 elections, 51%, was comparable to that of the US presidential election of 2008, which saw a voter turnout of 56.8%, not seen since 1968 (xlix). This, coupled with the fact that the ISS managed to secure a relatively peaceful election process argues that the Iraqi democracy is self-sustainable although somewhat infantile.
The policy makes sense in regard to further spread of democracy as well. A withdrawal in accordance with deals between Iraqi and US government helps to introduce and solidify the method of democratic operation on the international arena, and the spread of democracy also improves relations to other democratic states. Ironically, to allow Iraq to become a model for Arab democracy, the US must distance itself from it, allowing it to develop on its own. The US has to withdraw military presense, as this is in accordance with Iraqi public opinion (l). It has to assume a more advisory role, as supported by the Iraqi election and the ascent of the moderately religious Dawa party of Prime Minister al Maliki, and it has to increasingly restrict American economical presence to USAID and whatever levels are acceptable to Iraqi society. Too much interference from American private enterprise will give the impression that acceptance of a western form of democracy does not encourage a growth in Arab economy as much as it encourages the growth of American private enterprise. Failure to produce an impression of detachment will emphasise the country and the new government's connections to the US, which, for a rolemodel for Arab democracy, does not hold much currency in the Arab world and will therefore be counter-productive. In relation to this the Obama administration and the US government is advised to prepare a separate response in case of a crisis centering on al Maliki, specifically deciding whether stable, pro-American leadership or a democratic form of government is in US interests (li).

i. Clay Ramsay (Forthcoming 2009): “The Iraq War and U.S. Public Opinion” in John S. Duffield and Peter J. Dombrowski, eds, Balance Sheet: The Iraq War and U.S. National Security (Palo Altop, California, Stanford University Press)
ii. "Organizing for America", the Obama Biden Homepage, last visited 10.2.2009
iii. See chapter 2.3.
iv. Agence France-Presse: "Iraq ready for US withdrawal", Jan. 20, 2009 on:
v. Brian Bennett: "America's other army", TIME article, Oct. 17, 2007 on:,8599,1672792,00.html?iid=sphere-inline-sidebar
vi. Elise Labott: "Official: U.S. will not renew Iraq contract with Blackwater", CNN article, Jan. 30, 2009 on:
vii. "Iraq demands all US troops out by 2011", Times Online article, Oct. 28, 2008. There are, however several strong indications that the UK will follow the US example. Indications throughout the memorandum.
viii. Samantha L. Quigley: "Leaders Begin Troop Withdrawal in Iraq, General Says", American Forces Press Service News article, Mar. 9, 2009 on:, "Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq"/ US-Iraq SOFA in the White House Archives. More on this in the following chapters
ix. Ken Dilanian: "Obama faces a crush of demands from interest groups", USA Today article, Dec 17 2008 on:, USA Today: "Iraq willing to see U.S. troops leave early", Jan. 21, 2009 on:, Agence France-Presse Jan. 20, 2009
x. Michael Cox and Doug Stokes: US Foreign Policy, New York 2008: ch. 1, ”Summary of National Security Strategy 2002”, last visited Mar. 28, 2009
xi. Ibid
xii. Cox and Stokes 2008: 99-101, see chapter 3.1 for more
xiii. “The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002”, Oct. 2002
xiv. Ibid
xv. Ramsay, forthcoming 2009: 5
xvi. Indeed, the National Security Strategy above was amended to address the issues of the 2007 surge more directly.
xvii. "Bush vetoes war-funding bill with withdrawal timetable", CNN article, May 2, 2007, “Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America”, White House Press Release, Nov 26, 2007
xviii. One controversy concerned Vice-Presivent Cheney, who, according to The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, had been chairman in Halliburton one year prior to his ascent to the post of Vice-President
xix. Cox and Stokes 2008: 131
xx. Study commissioned by the US Joint Forces Command: "Iraqi Perspectives Project", 91-95
xxi. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report, June 2008, 170
xxii. The same study showed that al Qaeda was reported to have approached Iraqi officials on several occations without achieving any desired response. Also, the presence of al Qaeda in Iraq was not established until late 2003, after the fall of Saddam.
xxiii. Philip Jenkins: "A History of the United States", New York, 2007: 313
xxiv. Cox and Stokes 2008: 119, 121, 124, 131
xxv. "Organizing for America", the Obama Biden Homepage, last visited 10.2.2009
xxvi. “CNN Election Issue Overview” on
xxvii. Cox and Stokes 2008: 138
xxviii. USA Today Jan. 21, 2009
xxix. Agence France-Presse Jan. 20, 2009
xxx. Jim Garamone: "Iraqi Military Builds Up Combat Power, Logistics", American Forces Press Service news article, Nov. 3, 2008 on:
xxxi. Rt Hon John Hutton MP: Opening speech delivered by the UK Secretary of State for Defence at a House of Commons debate on "Iraq - Future Strategic Relationship", on 14 January 2009 on:
xxxii. "Defense manpower center overview of death toll”, last visited Mar. 30, 2009, "Iraq Body Count", an online project tracking the death toll of Iraqi civilians, last visited Feb. 23, 2009
xxxiii. Cox and Stokes 2008: 19
xxxiv. Ibid: 94
xxxv. Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338), The US-Iraq SOFA
xxxvi. USAID: Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations FY2009, 509-511 on:
xxxvii. Ibid: 511, House Majority Leader: communiqué on the testimony of General David Petraeus and former Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker on political progress in Iraq, last visited 4.4.2009 on:
xxxviii. Cox and Stokes 2008: 15, 18, 159
xxxix. WTRG Economics: graph on Petroleum Consumption and Price 1973-2007 on:
xl. graph on Oil Price and Net Oil Imports 1970-2008 on:
xli. Jenkins 2007: 320
xlii. President Obama: "Remarks of President Barack Obama – Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq" Speech transcript on the White House web page Feb 27, 2009 on:
xliii. Cox and Stokes 2008: 12, 124, 141
xliv. Ibid: 103, 131
xlv. United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, last visited 4.4.2009
xlvi. Cox and Stokes 2008: 13, 20, 91
xlvii. Ibid: 95
xlviii. Mark Tessler: “Citizen Attitudes about Politics and Religion in the Arab World, invited lecture at the UCLA, 2005 on:
xlix. Stephen Farrell: "Election Turnout: Early Figures" New York Times article, Feb. 1, 2009 on:, statistics of National Voter Turnout in Federal Elections: 1960–2008, last visited 4.4.2009 on:
l. USA Today Jan. 21, 2009
li. Cox and Stokes 2008: 95, Mark Lynch: "Briefing Book: How to get out of Iraq", Foreign Policy article, Jan, 2009 on:

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