Iraq: Victory Not An Option

Iraq: Victory Not An Option.

The Baker Commission will be providing a report on the options
available to the administration regarding Iraq after the midterm
elections. Of the options, victory is not one of them in the
foreseeable future. Neither is stay the course. The report will outline
at least two major options, draw down and redeploy, or, stability first
in Baghdad.

Victory, as defined by President Bush as an independent democratic
Iraq favorable to peaceful relations with other democracies, is not in
the cards according to the NY Sun's reporter, Eli Lake.
The draw down and redeploy option will recommend removing our forces
from the sectarian violence and focus their resources on al-Queda and
terrorist organizations seeking a foothold in Iraq. The other option,
would focus our troops efforts on quelling the civil war in Baghdad
because, if there is no stability in Baghdad, there can be no stability
in Iraq.

James Baker has headed up a bi-partisan commission established by
Congress to assess the current state of Iraq and options for future
involvment in Iraq by the United States. Baker is also an attorney
representing Exxon-Mobil and the Saudi Arabian government which has
some interesting implications in this story, as yet, undeveloped.
While, the Baker Commission has no authorization nor power over the
White House's pursuit of the Iraq War directly, many key Republican
Congresspersons have hinted or stated that Congress' support of the
Bush administration's 'stay the course' policy may no longer be
supported. Pres. Bush himself in last week's press conference talked of
“adapting” and adjusting direction in Iraq, no doubt, in anticipation
of the Baker/Hamiltion Commission report.

As I wrote here at WatchBlog in Iraq and Befuddled Republicans,
Sen. John Warner (R) is giving the Maliki government in Iraq just 60-90
days to bring about a truce between the Sunnis and Shiites in Baghdad,
or Congress will demand a change in course of the White House's
objectives and prosecution of war in Iraq. Since, Congress holds the
purse strings to the Bush Administration's efforts in Iraq, Congress
has the power to withhold or, redirect its funding for Pres. Bush's
directives and policy direction in Iraq. Because this could result in a
showdown between the Republican White House and Republican leadership
in the Congress, (should Republicans hold control of Congress after
Nov. 7), it is obvious why the Baker Commission report is not scheduled
for release until after the Nov. 7 elections and before Mar. 15.

It is not likely a coincidence that Sen. Warner referred to 90 days
last week as the magic time frame for a change in course and the Baker
Commission's news conference in which its co-chair Lee Hamilton was
quoted by The New Republic:

is a very tough problem, our options are limited, and there is no
silver bullet, no magic formula to the problem of Iraq,” he said. For
reasons that he declined to elaborate upon, Hamilton said the next
three months in Iraq will be “critical,” particularly in the areas of
securing Baghdad, national sectarian reconciliation and the provision
of basic governmental services to Iraqis.

The Sydney Morning Herald, (Australia), reports:

his first public comment on the group's report, which will go to the
President, George Bush, and Congress after the elections, Mr Baker said
Mr Bush's “stay the course” policy might need adjusting. Most believe
Mr Baker's group has recommended changes in the Iraqi constitution that
would allow a very loose federation incorporating three virtually
autonomous regions: Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish.

[Third Party & Independents Watchblog]

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