How to get out of Iraq

12 December 2005

Getting out of Iraq is shaping up to be the major topic of next year as Republicans try to limit the damage, allies get anxious about electoral disillusion and those, like openDemocracy, who thought the war a bad idea in the first place find their fears more than realised.  But how to do it? Daniel Ellsberg told oD that he thinks it will take 20 to 30 years to get out of Iraq. The Oxford Research Group's latest report is trying to bring that forward a touch -- not by escalating the military conflict and hoping to "defeat" the insurgency, but by widening the diplomatic and political approach. Writing in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph, Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, who has written an introduction to the report, pointed out : "The core of the Iraqi insurgency has too much support, both active and passive, to be defeated militarily. Only the horror of an all-out civil war, with perhaps a million more dead, could bring an uncertain end by arms to this ongoing tragedy. Nor will insurgents be drawn into politics by inertia. Dialogue, negotiated agreement and compromise must be the tools used to bring Iraq’s fragmented representation to the table. Only then can Iraqi nationalists be freed from a temporary and forced alliance with the radicals who claim to represent them."
The report call for a human security approach, building legitimmmate local orders, drawing on community-based policing, a troika of honest brokers, appointed jointly by the UN, the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to negotiate a way forward and  the establishment of a network of Centres for Listening and Documentation to channel the grievances of ordinary people.



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