Final Push Needed for Iraq Success, DOD Official Says

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2010 — A final invest­ment in the tran­si­tion to a civil­ian-led U.S. pres­ence in Iraq will pro­duce endur­ing results and cre­ate a sta­bi­liz­ing force in the region, a senior defense offi­cial told leg­is­la­tors here yes­ter­day.
“We are 10 yards from the goal line and need one final push,” Col­in Kahl, deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for the Mid­dle East, told the House Com­mit­tee on For­eign Affairs.

“The strate­gic div­i­dends of our enor­mous sac­ri­fice are with­in reach,” Kahl added, “as long as we take the prop­er steps to con­sol­i­date our hard-fought gain.” 

Based on a 2008 agree­ment between the Unit­ed States and Iraq, U.S. mil­i­tary forces have a Dec. 31, 2011, dead­line for with­draw­ing from Iraq. Amer­i­can forces in Iraq now num­ber few­er than 50,000 troops, down from more than 150,000 at their peak. 

Today the main­ly Defense Depart­ment-led mil­i­tary cam­paign is tran­si­tion­ing to a diplo­ma­cy-advi­so­ry-assis­tance effort led by the State Depart­ment and the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Development. 

DOD has an excel­lent work­ing rela­tion­ship with the State Depart­ment and we are work­ing togeth­er at all lev­els to achieve a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion,” Kahl said. 

More than 1,100 essen­tial activ­i­ties per­formed by DOD in Iraq have been iden­ti­fied, he said, that fall under 24 cat­e­gories, includ­ing intel­li­gence, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion efforts. 

Those activ­i­ties are now being trans­ferred to the Iraqis, the State Depart­ment and its offices, U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand, U.S. civil­ian agen­cies or mul­ti­lat­er­al or pri­vate insti­tu­tions, or phased out entirely. 

DOD also is pro­vid­ing the State Depart­ment with excess equip­ment and tech­ni­cal sup­port and is plan­ning for post-2011 support. 

“This is a good start,” Kahl said, “but in the com­ing year DOD will like­ly have to do even more to assist the State Depart­ment to ensure a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion — and we will.” Kahl said the U.S. tran­si­tion in Iraq also requires ensur­ing that Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces are trained to cer­tain essen­tial capa­bil­i­ties, and cre­at­ing a state-led police devel­op­ment program. 

The mas­sive and com­plex tran­si­tion also includes expand­ing the U.S. diplo­mat­ic pres­ence and estab­lish­ing an Office of Secu­ri­ty Coop­er­a­tion, he added. 

“Since Jan­u­ary 1, 2009, the Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces have been in the lead on secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions, a role that they have more capa­bly embraced with each pass­ing month,” Kahl said. 

The Unit­ed States pro­vides vital sup­port, includ­ing train­ing, equip­ping, men­tor­ing, advis­ing and more, but Kahl said “the Iraqis are very much in charge and they sim­ply no longer need such large num­bers of U.S. forces to keep the vio­lence in check.” 

The Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces have remained pro­fes­sion­al and inde­pen­dent of polit­i­cal pres­sure, Kahl said, despite eight months this year of “some­times rau­cous gov­ern­ment for­ma­tion negotiations.” 

Last week, he added, Iraqi lead­ers took a major step for­ward by form­ing a gov­ern­ing coali­tion that includes all the major Iraqi polit­i­cal blocs. They also agreed on a set of polit­i­cal reforms. 

Vio­lence will con­tin­ue to chal­lenge the polit­i­cal process in Iraq, Kahl said, “but as long as Iraqis stay com­mit­ted to resolv­ing their dif­fer­ences through the force of words rather than the force of arms, Iraq is unlike­ly to sink back into wide­spread violence.” 

Con­tin­ued U.S. sup­port to the Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces, includ­ing joint train­ing exer­cis­es and mil­i­tary exchanges, will help ensure steady improve­ments in Iraqi capa­bil­i­ties even beyond 2011, he said. 

Con­tin­ued secu­ri­ty assis­tance through the Office of Secu­ri­ty Oper­a­tion, now being estab­lished in Iraq, will help address con­cerns the Unit­ed States shares with Iraq, Kahl said, includ­ing coun­tert­er­ror­ism, coun­ter­pro­lif­er­a­tion, mar­itime secu­ri­ty and air defense. 

“As the U.S. draws down its mil­i­tary pres­ence,” Kahl said, “the Iraqi gov­ern­ment must feel that it has the foun­da­tion­al capa­bil­i­ties to defend against exter­nal threats both objec­tive­ly and subjectively.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →