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U.S. Army War College >> Strategic Studies Institute >> Publications >> Precedents, Variables, and Options in Planning a U.S. Military Disengagement Strategy from Iraq

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Precedents, Variables, and Options in Planning a U.S. Military Disengagement Strategy from Iraq

Authored by Dr. W. Andrew Terrill, Dr. Conrad C. Crane.

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Brief Synopsis

The questions of how to empower the Iraqis most effectively and then progressively withdraw non-Iraqi forces from that country is one of the most important policy problems currently facing the United States. The authors seek to present the U.S. situation in Iraq in all of its complexity and ambiguity, with policy recommendations for how that withdrawal strategy might be most effectively implemented. They consider previous instances of U.S. military occupation of foreign countries and the difficulty of maintaining domestic support for such operations. The authors view the empowerment of a viable Iraqi central government and a security force to defend its authority as vital to the future of that country, but also suggest that there are severe constraints on the potential for the United States to sustain its military presence in that country at the current level. They conclude that the United States must be prepared to withdraw from Iraq under non-optimal conditions and that the chief U.S. goals should be to devise an exit strategy for Iraq that focuses on bolstering Iraqi government legitimacy even if this does not involve creating a Western style democracy. The authors strongly reject the idea withdrawing from Iraq by the use of a formal timetable, and call for the U.S. to continue its policy of renouncing permanent Iraqi bases.

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Also by the Authors/Editor:

The Struggle for Yemen and the Challenge of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Lessons of the Iraqi De-Ba'athification Program for Iraq's Future and the Arab Revolutions
The Saudi-Iranian Rivalry and the Future of Middle East Security
The Conflicts in Yemen and U.S. National Security
Escalation and Intrawar Deterrence During Limited Wars in the Middle East
Regional Spillover Effects of the Iraq War
Jordanian National Security and the Future of Middle East Stability
The Evolution of U.S.-Turkish Relations in a Transatlantic Context

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Iraq

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