Saturday, January 06, 2007


The above map is from a report entitled "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq" by Frederick W. Kagan1, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. This is apparently the "war plan" that President Bush has been waiting for and will base much of his "way forward" speeches on. It will be interesting to see whether he uses any of these maps speckled with American flags, and what the Iraqi politicians and bloggers will think about those once they get hold of Kagan's report.

Here is Kagan's timetable for the proposed "troop surge":
  1. Deploy (by March)

  2. Prepare (by June)

  3. Clear critical terrain (by September)

  4. Transition to Iraqi Control

How large should the surge be?

  • 4 to 5 Additional U.S. Brigades operating in Baghdad

  • 2 U.S. Brigades operating N and S

  • 4 Iraqi Army Brigades operating N and S

Here are the "problems" in Baghdad which Kagan identifies and which he believes will be solved by the proposed troop surge:

  • Jaysh al-Mahdi (Muqtada! Muqtada!)

  • Badr Corps and other Militas

  • Shia "vigilantes"

  • Al Qaida in Iraq

  • Sunni Baathist/Military

  • Sunni "vigilantes"

I suspect that most Baghdadis would probably put the U.S. troops and corrupt Iraqi police up at the top of this list.

That all seems pretty straightforward, although it will be interesting to see how close the president sticks to the talking points. There are many "contingency plans" built in, including the prospect that the present Iraqi government may collapse and need to be replaced with a "national unity government" of American design. In addition to Kagan, the list of contributors to his "Iraq Planning Group" does include one general as well as noted neoconservative thinkers such as Michael Rubin.

Once we have secured Baghdad, you may ask, what is next? Kagan does not disappoint -

1 Kagan, Frederick W., 2006, Choosing Victory, A Plan for Success in Iraq. Washington, D. C.: The American Enterprise Institute.



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