[Marxism] Zbig wants US to demand Iraqis demand US to withdraw

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Tue Apr 18 18:50:48 MDT 2006

A potential ruling class blueprint for a facesaving end to the occupation.
Former Democratic national security advisor Brzezinski, along with with his
Republican counterpart, Brent Scowcroft, have been the foremost
establishment critics of the Bush administration's decision to invade and
occupy Iraq, which they foresaw as a quagmire and a threat to wider US
strategic interests.

Brzezinski is calling for a reorientation of US policy towards the Sadrists
and other forces who are "openly opposed to the occupation" and "who are
prepared to lead and have the will to lead" the country against what he
regards lightly as a dispersed and unorganized Sunni insurgency "exploiting
the chaos and hostility produced by the foreign occupation."

Such a reorientation presupposes an accomodation with Iran, and US envoy
Zalmay Khalilzad's invitation to Iranian officials to discuss Iraq's future
points in this direction. But there is another wing within the
administration which is prepared to break the impasse not by retreating from
Iraq but by brutally escalating the conflict to Iran in a calculated effort
to impose its will on America's global opponents and allies alike.
It is time to plan for an American withdrawal from Iraq
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Financial Times
April 18 2006

The Bush administration is probably right in asserting that the ongoing
violence in Iraq is not yet a civil war but rather a fragmentary civil
strife that could escalate into a civil war. That, alas, is also testimony
to the proposition that the occupation of Iraq has proven to be
inconclusive, costly and destructive of Iraq's social fabric.

>From this viewpoint, how certain can one be that if America were to desist,
the Shia and Kurd population of Iraq would not be capable of compelling on
their own an arrangement with the Sunni-Arab community? Together, the Shia
and the Kurds account for about 75 per cent of the population, and both are

The Sunni would be faced with a difficult decision: whether to accommodate
or resist. Some may choose the path of accommodation and some the path of
resistance. But the outcome of any confrontation is also predictable:
namely, that the Kurds and Shia would prevail. Is that an outcome
necessarily worse than staying on course, which involves a bloody war of
attrition waged by "an ineffective occupier" (to borrow a phrase from Paul
Bremer, former US administrator in Iraq)?

Given that a more authentic Iraqi political leadership is finally beginning
to push aside the earlier US-hand-picked choices, the time is ripe to adopt
a strategy for terminating the US military presence in the country. The
following four-point programme could serve as the basic framework for an
acceptable termination of the US involvement in the ongoing conflict that
the Bush administration seems unable either to win militarily or to end

First, Washington should quietly ask Iraqi leaders to publicly ask the US to
leave. The US decision should not be announced arbitrarily, but the US
should talk to the Iraqi leaders about the intention to set a date for
departure. There would be Iraqi leaders who would ask America to leave. Some
are openly opposed to the occupation. Some might feel their own political
prospects would be strengthened if they publicly identified themselves with
widespread hostility of the Iraqi people to the occupation. And some of
course would not wish to ask the US to leave. They are the ones who would
leave when we leave, which says something about the depth of their domestic

Second, after such a public request, the US and Iraqi governments would
jointly consult on a date for ending the occupation. I would think that
within a year, the US should be able to complete an orderly disengagement.
The commitment to a date would be extremely useful in concentrating Iraqi
minds on what would follow and encourage them to assume responsibility. The
assumption of responsibility by Iraqi leaders who would know that they would
soon be responsible for the future of their country is more likely to
produce leaders who are prepared to lead and have the will to lead.

I do not believe the argument that setting a date somehow would help the
insurgency. The insurgency is dispersed, largely spontaneous, hiding itself
in the crevices of Iraqi society and exploiting the chaos and hostility
produced by the foreign occupation.

Third, the Iraqi government - not the US - should then also call for a
regional conference of Muslim states, some immediately adjoining Iraq,
others more distant. By way of example, one might mention Egypt, Jordan,
Saudi Arabia, perhaps also Turkey (although that is sensitive because of
Kurdistan), Algeria, Tunisia and maybe even Iran. The Muslim neighbours and
friends should be asked to help the Iraqi government establish and
consolidate internal stability. The call should not come from the US and
such help would not be available if Iraq was still occupied.

Fourth, the US on leaving should convene a donors' conference of European
states, Japan, China and others with an interest in a stable oil-exporting
Iraq to become more directly involved in financing the restoration of the
Iraqi economy. But that again is more likely to be productive only when it
is obvious that the US occupation is ending.

The US needs to recognise that its intervention in Iraq is becoming part of
a wider, dangerous collision between America and the Muslim world - a
collision that could prove, if it becomes truly widespread, devastating to
America's global position. An America in a conflict with the world of Islam
as a whole will be an America with more enemies and fewer friends, an
America more isolated and less secure.

The writer, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, is
author of The Choice (Basic Books)

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