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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

Us national security interests


slightly smaller than California


~ 26.5 million

Largest city:

Baghdad (5.6 million)


97% Muslim (65% Shia)

3% Christian


80% Arabic

20% Kurdish


Us national security interests

Zagros Mountains

near Sulaimaniyah

Us national security interests

Wheat fields

in the Jazirah

Us national security interests

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

Us national security interests

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 2008

  • 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

The solution
The Solution 2008


Issues for us policy makers
Issues for US Policy Makers 2008

  • 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

Discussion 2008

  • “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 ?