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Research Report

IRAQ The Way Ahead: Phase IV Report

Frederick W. Kagan
Copyright Date: Mar. 24, 2008
Pages: 89
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep03033
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 3-4)

    The civil war in Iraq is over. The overwhelming majority of Iraqis of all sects and ethnicities have rejected al Qaeda, its ideology, and its methods. Al Qaeda in Iraq has been driven out of almost all of its major urban sanctuaries (with the exception of Mosul, where clearing is underway), and its ability to conduct large-scale coordinated attacks across Iraq has been dramatically reduced. Moqtada al Sadr’s Jaysh al Mahdi (JAM) has been fragmented and has fallen into fratricidal struggles. Iranianbacked “Special Groups” continue their attacks using sophisticated weapons and techniques and remain a concern, but they are increasingly...

  2. (pp. 5-38)

    The surge and the change of strategy have transformed security in Iraq. The statistics are stark: terrorism in Baghdad claimed 1,087 victims in February 2007 and only 178 in January 2008. Ethnosectarian deaths dropped from 800 last February to 40 this January.¹ Attacks against coalition forces (from around 1,300 per week in December 2006 to fewer than 600 per week in December 2007), civilian casualties in Iraq overall (from 3,000 per month to around 700 per month), and coalition troops killed in action (from around 100 in December 2006 to around 20 in December 2007) have also dropped dramatically since...

  3. (pp. 39-47)

    The Iraqi political situation is more fluid now than it has been since the transfer of sovereignty in 2004. This fluidity results from the reduction of violence in central Iraq, which has allowed both ordinary people and politicians to focus their attention beyond sheer survival and onto issues and concerns that fall more properly within the realm of politics. In this context, the flaws of the current Iraqi government at both the provincial and the national levels are making themselves increasingly apparent to the Iraqi population. As a result, the major parties that now dominate the Council of Representatives (CoR)...

  4. (pp. 48-65)

    The likely course of events in Iraq through July 2008 is reasonably clear. U.S. forces will be reduced to pre-surge levels, ongoing operations will continue and be brought to conclusion, negotiations on various internal Iraqi issues and on the long-term security relationship between Iraq and the United States will continue. Beyond July it is possible to identify a number of likely events and probable courses of action, which have been the focus of programmatic reviews undertaken in Multi-National Force–Iraq (MNF-I), Central Command and the Joint Staff that will inform the military’s recommendations to the president in April. The sections...

  5. (pp. 66-76)

    America’s objective in Iraq is to help the Iraqis establish a legitimate, democratic, inclusive, secular, and stable government that is a friend in the region and an ally in the war against militant Islamism. This objective is attainable, and much closer now than it has ever been before. But success is not inevitable. America and Iraq still face significant military threats from both Sunni and Shia insurgent and terrorist groups supported from outside Iraq, and the growth of a mature democratic political system still faces significant challenges. There is virtually no chance of success unless America commits to supporting and...