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The End of Iraq, definitive, tough-minded, clear-eyed, describes America's failed strategy toward that country and what must be done now. The United States invaded Iraq with grand ambitions to bring it democracy and thereby transform the Middle East. Instead, Iraq has disintegrated into three constituent components: a pro-western Kurdistan in the north, an Iran-dominated Shiite entity in the south, and a chaotic Sunni Arab region in the center. The country is plagued by insurgency and is in the opening phases of a potentially catastrophic civil war. George W. Bush broke up Iraq when he ordered its invasion in 2003. The United States not only removed Saddam Hussein, it also smashed and later dissolved the institutions by which Iraq's Sunni Arab minority ruled the country: its army, its security services, and the Baath Party. With these institutions gone and irreplaceable, the basis of an Iraqi state has disappeared. The End of Iraq describes the administration's strategic miscalculations behind the war as well as the blunders of the American occupation. There was the failure to understand the intensity of the ethnic and religious divisions in Iraq. This was followed by incoherent and inconsistent strategies for governing, the failure to spend money for reconstruction, the misguided effort to create a national army and police, and then the turning over of the country's management to Republican political loyalists rather than qualified professionals. As a matter of morality, Galbraith writes, the Kurds of Iraq are no less entitled to independence than are Lithuanians, Croatians, or Palestinians. And if the country's majority Shiites want to run their own affairs, or even have their own state, on what democratic principle should they be denied? If the price of a unified Iraq is another dictatorship, Galbraith writes in The End of Iraq, it is too high a price to pay. The United States must focus now, not on preserving or forging a unified Iraq, but on avoiding a spreading and increasingly dangerous and deadly civil war. It must accept the reality of Iraq's breakup and work with Iraq's Shiites, Kurds, and Sunni Arabs to strengthen the already semi-independent regions. If they are properly constituted, these regions can provide security, though not all will be democratic. There is no easy exit from Iraq for America. We have to relinquish our present strategy -- trying to build national institutions when there is in fact no nation. That effort is doomed, Galbraith argues, and it will only leave the United States with an open-ended commitment in circumstances of uncontrollable turmoil. Peter Galbraith has been in Iraq many times over the last twenty-one years during historic turning points for the country: the Iran-Iraq War, the Kurdish genocide, the 1991 uprising, the immediate aftermath of the 2003 war, and the writing of Iraq's constitutions. In The End of Iraq, he offers many firsthand observations of the men who are now Iraq's leaders. He draws on his nearly two decades of involvement in Iraq policy working for the U. S. government to appraise what has occurred and what will happen. The End of Iraq is the definitive account of this war and its ramifications.
Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2011Today, Hamid al-Bayati serves as Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations. But for many years he lived in exile in London, where he worked with other opponents of Saddam Hussein's regime to make a democratic and pluralistic Iraq a reality. As former Western spokesman for the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and as a member of the executive council of the Iraqi National Congress, two of the main groups opposing Saddam's regime, he led campaigns to alert the world to human rights violations in Iraq and win support from the international community for the removal of Saddam.An important Iraqi diplomat and member of Iraq's majority Shia community, he offers firsthand accounts of the meetings and discussions he and other Iraqi opponents to Saddam held with American and British diplomats from 1991 to 2004. Drawn from al-Bayati's personal archives of meeting minutes and correspondence, From Dictatorship to Democracy takes readers through the history of the opposition.We learn the views and actions of principal figures, such as SCIRI head Sayyid Mohammed Baqir Al-Hakeem and the other leaders of the Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi and his Kurdish counterparts, Masound Barzani and Jalal Talabani. Al-Bayati vividly captures their struggle to unify in the face of not only Saddam's harsh and bloody repression but also an unresponsive and unmotivated international community. Al-Bayati's efforts in the months before and after the U.S. invasion also put him in direct contact with key U.S. figures such as Zalmay Khalilzad and L. Paul Bremer and at the center of the debates over returning Iraq to self-government quickly and creating the foundation for a secure and stable state.Al-Bayati was both eyewitness to and actor in the dramatic struggle to remove Saddam from power. In this unique historical document, he provides detailed recollections of his work on behalf of a democratic Iraq that reflect the hopes and frustrations of the Iraqi people.
Called by New York Times columnist David Brooks the "smartest and most devastating" critic of President George W. Bush's Iraq policies, Peter Galbraith was the earliest expert to describe Iraq's breakup into religious and ethnic entities, a reality now commonly accepted. The Iraq war was intended to make the United States more secure, bring democracy to the Middle East, intimidate Iran and Syria, help win the war on terror, consolidate American world leadership, and entrench the Republican Party for decades. Instead, Bush handed Iran its greatest strategic triumph in four centuries U.S. troops now fight to support an Iraqi government led by religious parties intent on creating an Iranian-style Islamic republic As part of the surge, the United States created a Sunni militia led by the same Baathists the U.S. invaded Iraq to overthrow administration gave Iran and North Korea a free pass to advance their nuclear programs Obsessed with Iraq's nonexistent WMD, the Bush administration gave Iran and North Korea a free pass to advance their nuclear programs Turkey, a key NANATO ally long considered a model pro-Western Muslim democracy, became one of the most anti-American countries in the world U.S. prestige around the world reached an all-time low Iraq: Galbraith challenges the assertion that the surge will lead to victory. By creating a Sunni army, the surge has, in fact, contributed to Iraq's breakup and set the stage for an intensified civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. If the United States wishes to escape the Iraq quagmire, it must face up to the reality that the country has broken up and cannot be put back together. Iran: Having helped Iran's allies take control in Baghdad, the Bush administration no longer has a viable military option to stop Iran's nuclear program. Galbraith discusses how a president more pragmatic than Bush might get Iran to freeze its nuclear program as part of a package deal to upgrade relations between two countries equally threatened by Sunni extremism. Turkey, Syria, and Israel: A war intended to make Israel more secure, undermine Syria's Assad regime, and strengthen ties with Turkey has had the opposite result. Nationalism: In the coming decades, other countries may follow Iraq's example in fragmenting along ethnic and religious lines. Galbraith draws on his considerable experience in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia to predict where and what the United States might do about it. The United States: George W. Bush substituted wishful thinking for strategy and as a result made America weaker. Galbraith provides some rules for a national strategy that will appeal equally to conservatives and liberals -- indeed, to anyone who believes the United States needs an effective national security strategy.
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