Friday, June 13, 2014

A simplistic way forward on Iraq

Partner with the grown-ups (that would be the Kurds.)

1. Long term primary project: Support Kurds in ongoing strengthening and development of the KRG into an independent Kurdish state. Negotiate substantial increase in U.S. and allied military presence in that state, for striking capability if/when necessary for our national security interests. Continue to forge extensive economic ties of course. Also continue to aid it in its efforts to ease the humanitarian toll of the wars in Syria and Iraq.

2. Shorter term and secondary project: Support to Maliki government (if it lasts) but with stringent conditions (root out corruption, Sunni inclusive government and security forces, removal of Iranian/Syrian players, funding and influence.) Give the SOB a short time-line. If he fails to meet these conditions, cut off aid. No dithering about it. We’ve been dithering; he’s been dithering long enough. He can blame the hasty withdrawal for his having to cozy up to Iran, and Shia extremists all he wants, but he didn’t sign a status of forces agreement that retained our presence, his choice, not ours. This was not Bush's preferred route when negotiating that agreement. Also, if Maliki was competent, he would have a track record like that of the KRG.  We make clear we work only with competent governments, and those that do not tolerate extremist elements, secure their territory, and promote religious tolerance, etc., as does the KRG. He has compromised with barbarian elements, he can lie in that bed. Enough.

3. In any eventuality immediately start to increase interdiction efforts aimed at Syrian and Iranian elements in Iraq, ISIS, etc., via conventional air strikes, drone strikes. These can be run from the Gulf and the KRG. Let it be known to Maliki’s state that we will use its airspace for this purpose, agreement or no. Let the international community know we are doing this, agreements or no. We have earned the right to act in this way in this particular country due to the blood and treasure we spent in liberating the country from Hussein. Agree or not with that war, that will be the way it is. We will continue with this until we see fit to stop, also relying on the judgment of the Kurds as we make such judgments and decisions.

This will be part of a broader effort to wean ourselves from dependency on double game playing states that are not really U.S. allies in that region (Saudis) and others, (e.g., Pakistan). Iraq has been trending that way. We must send clear signals.

4. Decrease reliance on the regional bad-actors’ oil as part of larger plan to replace Mideast oil with domestic and other stable sources of oil and gas, particularly from the Americas. Mexico would benefit from this. Mexico’s economic health would help us domestically.

Goal: dry up the funding for Islamist militancy and propaganda. If the Iraqis, Saudis, Paks & etc. make up for these shortfalls by selling more to Russia, China, etc., so be it. We will at least, no longer be paying what is essentially welfare and salary to double dealing governments and people that kill, resent and hate us. If states such as Saudi and Pak dry up as ‘allies’ in intelligence gathering and military operations, so be it. We cannot tolerate double games.  Aid from such regimes was always limited by their interests and double games, not ‘whole hog’ and deciding in the GWOT. We must remember this about them. And, no, I don’t care that this is “simplistic.” Look where ‘realistic compromise’ ‘nuance’ and ‘pragmatism’ has led us.

5. Let it be known to any states that knowingly allow enemies of the U.S. to operate and plan within their borders that we will eliminate the threat at any time we deem necessary. Any attack by such a nation’s military on American aircraft or personnel carrying out operations will be considered an act of war. It will meet with response. It is too bad if we violate such countries’ airspace to do so. We are under no obligation to run a risk because such nations are either unwilling to root out the barbarian or incompetent in their domain. They should not make prudential mistakes by doing something about airspace violation that they may regret.

6. If any attacks on the American homeland find their origins in such places, swift reaction will occur. Major attacks will draw major responses, similar in scale to the Iraq and Afghan wars, and we will not stay to pick up the pieces.

Each of these promises will be made to an Iraq that fails to meet conditions described in #2 above.

7. Continuing economic force will be brought to bear on any funding streams that help the double gaming states and/or Islamist violence. This will include traditional embargoes, sanctions, espionage, infiltration, legal actions and untraditional means such as cyber operations against banking and similar institutions. We will not always work through courts. We must make it clear that we can deal deciding economic blows at any time, and quickly.


That’s all I have.