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US National Security Interests. Iraq. Defining National Security Interests. US National Security Policy US National Interests : “our perceived needs and aspirations in relation to our international engagement ” Vital National Interest

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defining national security interests
Defining National Security Interests

US National Security Policy

US National Interests: “our perceived needs and aspirations in relation to our international engagement”

  • Vital National Interest
    • When threatened – US must act; not acting will have immediate, critical consequences to US Interests.
  • Important National Interests
    • Not acting to protect these will cause damage, that may eventually have critical consequences.
  • Peripheral National Interests
    • Unlikely to affect critical national interests.
elements national power
Elements National Power
  • Diplomatic – efforts in direct and indirect diplomacy, through our State Department professionals.
  • Informational - Information dissemination to shape our interests and behavior of other nations.
  • Military – application of military power.
  • Economic - use of US Economic Power to shape behavior


slightly smaller than California


~ 26.5 million

Largest city:

Baghdad (5.6 million)


97% Muslim (65% Shia)

3% Christian


80% Arabic

20% Kurdish



Zagros Mountains

near Sulaimaniyah


Wheat fields

in the Jazirah

Long-standing patterns

in the history of Iraq

Continue to have

a strong impact

on your present area of operation

major patterns in the history of iraq
Major Patterns in the History of Iraq
  • Tribes and cities have been mutually dependent and competing for power for over 4000 years.
  • Women and domestic space have been segregated for at least 4000 years
  • States have been relocating people to reduce their ability to resist for nearly 3000 years
  • Islam is also an historical, cultural, and civilizational reference point
  • Conflict for control of Mesopotamia (Iraq) between western powers and Persia (Iran)
  • Favoritism towards minority Sunni urban elite, discrimination against majority Shia rural poor
  • Absence of democratic traditions and institutions in modern Iraq
comparative view of the historical context
United States


Comparative view of the Historical context
  • Older nation
  • Younger history and culture
  • History of democratic transition in government
  • Citizenship as idiom of participation in rule
  • Tradition of pluralism and open debate
  • Younger nation
  • Older history and culture
  • History of violent changes of government
  • Tribalism and ethnicity as idiom of participation in rule
  • Tradition of particularlism and repression of dissent
history of iraq
History of Iraq
  • Ancient Mesopotamia (3500 BC – 300 AD)
  • Early Islam (650 – 1258 AD)
  • Ottoman empire (1520 - 1917)
  • Modern Iraq (1921 to present)
modern iraq political rule
Modern IraqPolitical Rule
  • Monarchy 1921-1958
  • Qasim regime 1958-1963
  • Continued military rule 1963-1968
  • Baathist control 1968-1979
  • Baathism under Saddam 1979-2003

Baathist Iraq: 1968 - 2003

No genuine political participation

No institutionalized, legitimate rule

Real power in the hands of a narrow, tribal-based elite

recap modern iraq
Recap: Modern Iraq
  • Failure to build broadly-based political institutions
  • No popular “buy-in” to political process
  • Reliance on tribes to govern
  • Involvement of military in governing
  • Shia and Kurds largely excluded
  • Instability and violent change of government are the norm
contemporary military history in iraq
Contemporary Military History in Iraq
  • Iran – Iraq War – 1980 – 1988
  • “First Gulf War” – 1991
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom – 2003 - present
iran iraq war
Iran – Iraq War
  • Continuation of Persian – Western Conflict
  • Initiated by newly Fundamentalist Iran:
    • Shah of Iran is deposed, and fundamental Islamists control Iran.
    • Opposed to ‘secular’ rule in Iraq by Baathists/Hussein.
    • Repression of Shia Tribes in Iraq.
  • US sides with Iraq in latter stages of the war.
  • Ends in a Stalemate, but with both nations weakened from years of war.
persian gulf war 1991
Persian Gulf War - 1991
  • Iraq Invades Kuwait
  • Threatens Saudi Arabia
  • Thirty-one nation coalition led by the US defends Saudi Arabia; pushes Iraqi Army from Kuwait
  • Aftermath:
    • US presence in Saudi Arabia
    • Hussein retribution against Shia, Kurds
    • UN Peace Treaty & Resolutions
the road to gulf war ii
The Road To Gulf War II
  • Continued repression of minority Kurds and majority Shia.
  • UN enforced “No Fly Zones”
  • UN restrictions on Iraqi weapons development.
  • UN economic sanctions
  • US Policy of Regime Change in Iraq
  • 9/11
operation iraqi freedom 2003
Operation Iraqi Freedom - 2003
  • Small Coalition of the “willing”
  • Not sanctioned by the UN
  • US Led Operation:
    • Quick, decisive defeat of Iraqi Conventional Military forces.
    • Overthrow of Hussein/Baathists.
  • “Mission Accomplished”……..
oif 2004 2006
OIF – 2004-2006
  • Lack of security throughout the nation.
  • Confusion among US agencies
  • Widespread Sectarian Violence. (Internal)
    • Fight for political control
  • Foreign “Insurgents” (External)
    • Foment sectarian violence
    • Kill Americans
    • Drive America from Iraq
  • Lack of basic government & services for Iraqi citizens.
  • Growing Iranian influence and support of Shia militias.
the surge
“The Surge”
  • Increased US Combat Troops:
  • Change in Tactics:
    • Units deployed alongside Iraqi Sec Forces in neighborhoods.
    • Bring security and support to Baghdad
  • Change in Strategy:
    • Work with Tribes and Militias to improve security and drive out insurgency.
    • Increase Military authority.
  • Refocus on Reconstruction & Security
the situation jan 2009
The Situation – Jan 2009
  • Much safer – everywhere
  • Insurgency is defeated.
  • Militias are “beating guns into plowshares”
  • Iraqi political leadership is stronger and better able to govern.
  • Iranian influence has been reduced.
  • Reconstruction has flourished.
  • Services to citizens and economy are growing.
electricity reconstruction overview
Electricity Reconstruction Overview
  • There are 3 generation projects valued at $223.5M as of 5 Dec 08. The forecasted completion date of all generation work is Mar 09. The Qudas Power Plant Expansion will be the last to complete.
  • Mullah Unit one
  • The Qudas Power Plant Expansion will strengthen the Baghdad Ring and serve 180,000 - 235,000 homes. The contractor is striving to provide power to the grid with one GTG operating on distillate fuel by end of CY08 & with the second GTG in same status by Jan 09.
  • Qudas –Unit 9 auxiliary package alignment final adjustments
  • World Bank Estimate: $20B U.S. Contribution: $4.3B
  • Qudas - Gas Turbine Generator #9
  • There are 8 transmission projects in progress valued at $151.1M as of 5 Dec 08. The forecasted completion date of transmission work is 30 Sep 09. The Ghammas Substation will be the last to complete.
  • Transmission
  • Work is now completed connecting Haditha Substation Baghdad Bay to West Baghdad.

Gulf Region Division ~ US Army Corps of Engineers

  • Distribution
the risk
The Risk
  • Lack of political progress –
    • Are Kurds and Sunni’s represented ?
    • Will majority Shia share power ?
    • Will citizens believe in elections ?
  • Security is tenuous –
    • Sectarian violence can return
    • Insurgents
    • Iran
    • Turkey and Kurds.
  • ISF cannot operate without US Military support.
  • What happens to the US if Iraq becomes a failed state
issues for us policy makers
Issues for US Policy Makers
  • Is Iraq a US vital National Interest ?
  • What is US objective & desired outcome ?
  • What is the cost to achieve the objective ?
  • Is the future cost of operations worth the outcome (Risk/Reward) ?
  • How do we achieve our objectives ?
    • Diplomatic - Military
    • Informational - Economic
  • “Go to War” decision-making
  • Iraq as a National Interest
  • Middle East as a National Interest.
  • What is the Global War on Terrorism?
    • How is Iraq related to GWOT?
    • How is Afghanistan related to GWOT?
  • What if ?? Second order effects…
  • US Defense Strategy Under the Bush Administration – “Preemption”
  • What Strategy will/should the Obama Administration Pursue ?