|A Central Pillar of Iraq Policy Crumbling|
A Central Pillar of Iraq Policy Crumbling
Bush's administration has insisted that political progress would quell the insurgency. But the reverse may be true, U.S. analysts say.
By Tyler Marshall and Louise Roug
Times Staff Writers
October 9, 2005
Senior U.S. officials have begun to question a key presumption ... that establishing democracy can ... eradicate the insurgency ...
U.S. analysts ... have started to challenge this ... noting a "significant and disturbing disconnect" between ... [political] advances and ... insurgent attacks.
... some within the administration ... concluded ... [Iraqi] democracy ... in its current form, could ... strengthen the insurgency.
[Gen. George W. Casey, US commander in Iraq:] ... such a scenario is possible
Iraq's Sunni Muslim Arabs ... opposed to ... constitution
... Sunnis will fail ... to defeat it.
"It could make people on the fence a little more angry or [make them] come off the fence,"
[---anonymous, senior US official]
"If the constitution passes in a non-amicable way, the violence will increase."
[--Ali Dabagh, Iraqi National Assembly
"If the peoples of [the Middle East] are permitted to choose their own destiny and advance by their own energy and by their participation as free men and women, then the extremists will be marginalized and the flow of violent radicalism to the rest of the world will slow and eventually end."
"... incredible political progress" in Iraq
[--President George Walker Bush @ National Endowment for Democracy ~2005-10-06]
"I think … we will, in fact, succeed in getting democracy established in Iraq, and I think when we do, that will be the end of the insurgency,"
[-- Vice President Dick Cheney]
"The surface political process has stumbled forward, but the insurgency came up and kind of stayed that way."
[--US government analyst]
[Middle East experts:] ... little correlation between Iraq's emerging democracy and the rebellion's strength.
"The democratic process as it has worked so far has certainly done nothing to undermine the insurgency."
[--Nathan Brown Carnegie Endowment for International Peace]
[Robert Malley International Crisis Group:] ... approval of the draft constitution could make things worse. ... administration's Iraq policy "a case study of pinning too much hope on an electoral process without doing so much of the other work."
Success in Iraq "is not about democracy or non-democracy; it's about reaching consensus on a political pact that all parties agree to.""If they don't agree, the political process won't help."
"... there is no guarantee that political progress diminishes political violence."
[--Brian Jenkins Rand Corp]
[B. Jenkins:] ... Colombia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Northern Ireland ...
... militant movements ... driven by various factors ... political goals ... profitable criminal activities and a lack of economic opportunities.
... insurgency has ... several motivating strands that ... [may] sustain it for years.
"We're short of time — it's the fault of the Americans." "They are always insisting on short deadlines. It's as if they're [making] hamburgers and fast food."
"If we'd had more time, it would have been possible to get Sunni participation. When Oct. 15 comes, many won't even have seen the constitution."
[--Mahmoud Othman, Iraqi Kurdish politician]
Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
Times staff writer Mark Mazzetti in Washington contributed to this report.