The Surge scenario's

R

Rankor and Pissing

#1
So what in reality are the Iraq options? In reading an AP piece in the paper this morning, it sounds like policy makers do not want to discuss at this time the options, so why couldn't we at least lay out some possibilities? This is not a discussion on the SURGE itself, but a discussion on the possible OUTCOMES of success or failure of the Surge.

At the high level we have "Should we stay or should we Go" (to borrow a Clash line). There are many options and sub options within those two groups, so for sake of discussion, I'll only take a few from each and will acknowledge there may be an infinite number of possibilities – I'll just address the most common one's as part of my own opinion.



Possible outcomes:

a. The “Surge” works, political compromises are reached, violence is reduced, Iraqi's step up to the task, regional war averted, sectarian violence drops, al qaeda in Iraq is routed.
b. The “Surge” fails, the Iraq government falters, sectarian violence increases as a full blown Civil war, other regional country's get involved, widespread mayhem and genocide as well as a now Regional Islamic Civil war.

So now let's take some possibilities in each between a.) and b.) and find out what are the alternatives. I understand the military does not want to address a “failure” option while they are focused on trying to win (Per Gen. Pace this past week)

THE SURGE WORKS

a-1. The return of U.S. Troops and a reduction of military personnel over a year or 2 year period. If the Surge works, not only short term but holds, the benefit will probably be felt in the Region though some portions of Iran and Syria's government may or may not be happy about it and may or may not try to disrupt that political and security solution.
a-2. A continue presence in Iraq, but as a buffer between Turkey and Northern Iraq and the Kurds and Southern Iraq with a pull back of the Kurdish troops under Iraq's control to lessen confrontation between Kurds and Islamic security personnel.
a-3. A massive reduction of military IN Iraq but a high level of permanent bases set up in the surrounding border country's to keep a watchful eye on the security situation within the borders of Iraq.[/b]
a-4 A full and complete pull out of all military forces from Iraq and the surrounding Region.

IMO, should the Surge work, and a solution be found that can hold, the #3 option would be most likely. The thought that American troops would simply leave the region surrounding Iraq without some sort of presence would be highly unlikely until after the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. Given the current WH foreign policy, it would not make sense for a full and complete pull out of military from the region, given the importance of negating an escalation of sectarian violence which again at some future time, would and could turn into a regional civil war.

THE SURGE FAILS

b-1. The Iraq government falls, and is taken over by a non-elected group; possibilities are endless, however most likely it would be either a Sunni or Shia group, even more likely the Hamadi Army or former Bathhists. Most likely, this would incur an escalation of sectarian violence, murder and bloodshed, with warring factions fighting for control. High probability of genocidal actions – high probability of escalation into regional countries such as Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. American forces would be removed from Iraq – only to be probably used as a Peace Keeping force at a later time (within 12-48 months).

b-2. The Iraq government does not fulfill their goals, but sides with the Shia factions, while continuing to ask for help from American forces. A less extreme case, which could also have a few different outcomes:
b-2-a. The government eventually gets overthrown (go back to b-1).
b-2-b. The government gets replaced by another faction (unknown consequences)
b-2-c. The government falls apart leading to anarchy requiring the U.S. Or U.N. To put an interim government in place until more elections or a political solution can be realized.

b-3. The Iraq government attempts to fulfill their goals and objectives and attempts to establish a government for “all”, but violence increases and continues and over-runs the country. (Go to b-1)

b-4 The U.S. Removes it's forces from Iraq, only to be drawn into a larger regional conflict as part of a NATO or U.N. Peace keeping force, designed to quell the genocide.
This option continues to haveU.S. Forces in and around Iraq for decades while a solution is worked on. This resembles the Israel vs. Palestine conflict which is always simmering but never solved.

b-5 U.S. Forces are pulled out, only to be more forcefully put back into the conflict years in the future, due to an escalation of regional conflict that threatens to cause either Nuclear or an ever widening World War. Probably the wost possible outcome – where the US withdraws and the downward spiral threatens to engulf not only the region, but forces countries like Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Europe to pick sides – due to either economic, humanitarian or oil exports. Given Pakistan and India, Russia and China and possibly by that time, Iran is a Nuclear power, as well as France, England and the United States also being a nuclear power – an escalation by an “unknown” force (think paramilitary Sunni/Shia faction or extremist group) could set off a chain of events that draws a nuclear holocaust of world proportions.

b-6 US forces stay in Iraq Ever mounting increases of military forces are used, including full Navy and Air Force to attempt to drive out and arrest/kill those wishing to cause harm, with or without the Iraqi governments consent. Full occupation and control over Iraq.

b-7 Iraq installs another dictator (ie. Saddam) to rule the country with an iron fist who is secular. The US may or may not back this dictator.

IMO I think there could be many different scenario's that could come to pass in this short list. There are too many variables at this point for me to really settle on one, however, I will find it difficult to say the US will remove soldiers from Iraq in any significant sense, while Bush is in the White House. I also believe that a full pull out of US forces will cause such a vacuum of death and destruction that either b-1, b-4, or b-6 is realized. I do not think a World War option is viable, as too many of the other players would need to take sides and relent into military action. Not that it's “impossible” but it's not likely. I would expect that if the US does in fact fail at the Surge, the pull out of military will require at some future date a large force to go into Iraq to keep peace. That force may be Iranian, may be Hezbollah, maybe another Islamic country's forces or a militia. If any of those just mentioned do in fact go into Iraq, it would spell certain end for the elected government and either an Islamic based Iraq would emerge, or my thought is another dictator would take Saddam's place and the West will have to deal with possibly an even worse situation in 10 years.

These realities (and there are thousands more possibilities, for pulling our forces out and leaving Iraq on it's own MAY IN FACT be a worse option than staying. No one can say for sure, but the potential for a much worse situation arising out of Iraq with a full withdrawal of US forces in 2007 would in my opinion be disastrous. I do not believe ANY positive options would exist in Iraq if we pulled out, as is being called for by many in the government and by citizens of the US. The alternative to the bad news of staying could be visceral and most ominous should we leave now.

This is all my opinion, so feel free to shred it, stomp on it, or agree – whatever. I thought it worthy to bring up as a possible subject as our lawmakers are not publically speaking about the “what if” scenario's if the US military does in fact leave or the Surge fails miserably. This may be very important discussion to have NOW and not 6 or 8 months from now. Shouldn't we know what our decisions could mean and how they could effect millions of people should we leave? Should we succeed?

Feel free to add your own possible scenario's as I couldn't think of all and these are the one's I though plausible.