News

    Middle East Analysts Skeptical About New Iraq War Strategy

    Middle East analysts are expressing skepticism about President Bush's new strategy to win the war in Iraq, saying his decision to send more than 20,000 additional U.S. troops may not end the violence in Baghdad and western Anbar province.  They also question whether the Iraqi government is capable of meeting the commitments the plan calls on them to make.  VOA correspondent Meredith Buel has more in this background report from Washington.

    Kenneth Pollack is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who specializes in political and military affairs.  He says he supports President Bush's decision to send more U.S. troops to Iraq in an effort to secure Baghdad and fight al-Qaida-backed insurgents in Anbar province.

    Pollack considers the plan the last chance to prevent catastrophic failure in Iraq, but he fears it may not have come in time.

    "Today it may just be too late," he said.  "We just don't know.  Iraq is in a very difficult situation.  Its government is completely locked up in a horrible political logjam.  There are all kinds of very bad things happening on the ground and we just don't know if even the perfect plan, executed by the most brilliant personnel, with all of the resources that they need, can still work."

    The Iraqi government has promised to send more security forces to Baghdad and make political moves in an effort to reconcile bitter divisions threatening to split the country along sectarian lines.

    These include passage of long-delayed legislation to share oil revenues among Iraq's ethnic groups and a $10 billion reconstruction and jobs program to be financed by Iraq's government.

    Phebe Marr, a historian of modern Iraq at the U.S. Institute of Peace, says the government in Baghdad has failed to meet its promises to quell sectarian violence in the past, and questions whether it can fulfill such commitments in the future.

    "Iraq is very far from achieving a new government that works and the collapse we are witnessing is likely to get worse before it gets better," she said.  "Only when the participants in Iraq recognize in this struggle for power that they are losing more than they can gain by continuing it, will it come to an end."

    U.S. military leaders say a critical difference in the plan Mr. Bush announced is that Iraqi commanders have pledged to fight all criminal elements and militias, regardless of whether they represent Sunni or Shi'ite Muslims.

    Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, says the militias are responsible for the most dangerous violence in Iraq.

    "Right now it is the militias and the death squads that are driving the ethnic cleansing and the movement towards a breakup of Iraq," he said.  "The question pretty soon is going to be whether we try to manage that process or let the militias alone drive it because it is happening.  One-hundred-thousand people a month are being driven from their homes.  Iraq looks like Bosnia more and more."

    President Bush continues to reject calls to reach out diplomatically to Iraq's neighbors, particularly Syria and Iran.  Mr. Bush accuses both countries of allowing insurgents to cross their borders with Iraq, and has charged Iran with providing material support for attacks on U.S. troops.

    The president has ordered the deployment of an additional U.S. aircraft carrier group to the region and has decided to deploy Patriot anti-missile systems to nearby allies.

    Martin Indyk, the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, says such moves send a pointed message to the Tehran government.

    "We are signaling to Iran, not that we want them to help us in Iraq, but we see them as the enemy in Iraq and we intend now to take them on," he said.

    It will take months before all the additional U.S. soldiers arrive in Iraq, but Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution warns that for practical and political reasons the new strategy must show results in a short period of time.

    "For the reasons across the spectrum, from military capability of our Army and Marine Corps, to the patience of our people, to the upcoming presidential race and everything else, our patience for sticking with anything like this strategy is very limited and it is probably measured in terms of nine to 18 months, not years," he added.

    Historian Phebe Marr of the U.S. Institute of Peace predicts it will take many years before there is a definitive outcome to the war in Iraq.

    "Given the grievous mistakes made on all sides, this process is going to be very costly and time consuming and no one should expect a clear outcome in the next two years, probably even in the next decade," she noted.

    Polls say U.S. public support for the war has dropped and Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the chances for success in Iraq.

    Administration officials say President Bush is taking the "long view" of the situation, which might differ from popular sentiment.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora