Winning the War in Iraq: Creating and Funding a Strategic Partnership
February 23, 2011
Foreign aid and federal spending may be unpopular, but if we do not properly fund a US presence in Iraq, we will lose the war we have virtually won, and vastly empower Iran. The US can vastly reduce its spending in Iraq as it withdraws its combat forces. It already has reduced much of its foreign aid. It is absolutely essential to US strategic interest, however, to make the proper transition to supporting Iraq during the three to five years during which Iraq needs outside help and support to make a successful transition to a stable democracy, complete the defeat of extremists like Al Qa’ida and Sadrist splinter groups, and rebuild enough regular military force to deter Iranian threats and intimidation.
The US cannot control the future shape of its strategic partnership with Iraq. It can only influence Iraq. It is Iraqis that will decide the nature of their future government, and more importantly, whether Iraqi politics can be translated into effective governance, security, stability, and a move towards development. The US and Iraq have, however, signed a Strategic Framework agreement, and most of Iraq’s leaders understand that Iraq needs US help and security guarantees. The Iraqi military knows it needs US help both to bring full internal security and create enough national defense capability to deal with foreign threats.
The attached report looks at the problems of funding the Iraq war in detail. The report, entitled “Winning the War in Iraq: Creating and Funding a Strategic Partnership” can be downloaded here: https://csis.org/files/publication/110223_Iraq-Budget_Paper.pdf