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The Iraq War and Us Policy

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Chapter 2

2.0 Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

In this chapter, the study provides a review of previous literature relevant to the topic of discussion. This chapter presents a review of information available by other researchers and other documented sources in respect to the Iraq War and the United States policy. Literature review provides information and issues that have been covered by the researchers, thus enabling this dissertation to impart additional information or provide new information.

2.2 Partition

There has been a disagreement about the cause of war in Iraq, which develops much significance in comparison to academic debates that may have sprung from the issue. The subconscious and conscious ranging debates on the issue of Iraq gave shape to the policies that Iraq and the United States pursue in an attempt of maintaining stability in the state. Arguments arose in regard to the debate surrounding conflict in Iraq. Policy discussions in the quest to find a stable state were developed within two separate arguments (Walker 2000). One of the arguments is developed in the line of religious and ethnic divisions that befall the country resulting in the invasion. The other policy argument is based on the continued presence of the United States troops in the invasion aftermath. These policy arguments claim that the existence of conflict in Iraq can be attributed to the divisions before the invasion or as a result of denying the government sovereignty through continued presence of the forces even after the invasion (Greenberg & Dratel 2005). The approach that is mostly used to describe the situation in Iraq is based on a primordial template in regard to societal and political complexities. The argument fronted here starts with an assertion of the existence of a society that is divided along sectarian and ethnic divisions. Retired policy scholars and diplomats from the United States have greatly focused on this aspect of the division (Scheuer 2008). According to them, there exist three sectarian and distinct communities. These include Sunni, Kurd, and Shia that are largely homogenous in terms of geography covering a wider surface area. These communities are also regarded as mutually hostile, and thus, their coexistence is largely affected. For the last 85 years, these communities have been living in a state that is dominated by Sanni (Pelletiere 2004). The scholars from the United States view the Civil War as unavoidable even after Saddam’s regime. The approach of politics in Iraq has greatly been influenced by communal antipathies. It creates a state that has less chances of avoiding the Civil War given this approach.

Various political parties after returning to Baghdad from exile also adopted this view. It was after the invasion in the year 2003, and they formed dominant parties within the state. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) together with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (KUP) consistently made their argument that Iraq was divided along the religious and sectarian groupings (Gordon & Shapiro 2004). This was as a result of deep mobilization of communal antipathies. The two parties fought for autonomy or what can be termed as outright independence that saw them forced to exile. It was as a result of the repression suffered by the northern Iraq Kurdish communities. All these events happened during the reign of the Baathist (Khalidi 2009). Other parties that are non-Kurdish advocating for this policy, the Iraq primordial view acted to divide the polity of Iraq. This maximized the influence of the returning exiles during the 2005 election (Ehrenberg 2010).

In regard to this situation, the policy that can be adopted to stabilize the country is through the division of the state into three manageable divisions. These units need to be ethnically pure, small, and more manageable. There is a  possibility that it may be achieved through drastic decentralization. This form of governance was advocated by the Vice President of America, Joe Biden, in the year 2006 (Kaplan & Kristol 2003). In his reign as the Vice President, Biden has continued to emphasis on a de-centered federal approach even as the troop from the US draw down, and the influence of America on Iraq diminished. The primordial approach is far from being satisfactorily from a factual and policy point of view; although, it has been influential. The primordial approach can be described as a static caricature which does damage to the complex reality that has been historically grounded (Tanielian & Jaycox 2008). Several opinion polls were carried in the entire nation through year 2004 to 2009 in regard to the governance of Iraq. In all these polls, 64% to 70% of the voters in Iraq always voted in favor of a central government with its preferred capital in Baghdad (Ryan 2007). It is a clear indication that the people of Iraq do not prefer divisions along religious and sectarian lines. This approach, therefore, cannot bear fruits in the management of conflicts in Iraq.

The second approach that can be used to explain Iraq violence is the American troops continued presence in Iraq. The implication of the continued presence of the troops from the United States resulted in a violent resistance (Chandrasekaran 2006). The US failed to observe strict time limit that they supposed to have their presence in Iraq, thus triggering a violent resistance. It was made worse because of the way the forces from the US undertook their operation. According to this approach, the cause of violence in Iraq is attributed to US forces and their colleagues. Their removal from the country can end the conflict or at the worst minimize it. The British Defense Chief in year 2006 reiterated that their presence in Iraq exacerbated the problems of security in Iraq (Hale 2007). In order to have a withdrawal from Barsa that is peaceful, British had to give an assurance that it would withdraw its forces from the regions once Iraq consolidated its forces (Graham 2004). Immediately after the withdrawal of the forces from the region, the residents expected minimal engagement with the justice system or the police. However, there was domination of fight from a criminal gang and militias themselves. It was in the effort of trying to have a total control over the city and engage to control the revenue. It was motivated by the existence of the lucrative oil deposit in the area near Umm Qasr (Danchev & McMillan 2005).

In the year 2005, President Bush announced his wish to reduce the troops in Iraq (Katovsky & Carlson 2003). He reiterated that he would minimize the forces upon the improvement of the state of security in Iraq. The aim of this resolution was to grant the responsibility of military to the forces of security in Iraq the soonest possible (Gardener 2008). Training of the Iraq army was essential to avoid the state of vacuum in security. As the US forces were slowly removed from the country, those left were redeployed to areas far from urban. This policy by the United States was seen as a major contributing factor to the rising insecurity in Iraq resulting in the Civil War (Haridakis, Hugenberg & Wearden 2009). The purpose of training the forces in Iraq was to complement the security needs following leaving of the United States military. These security forces did not fully take the role what came to be referred to as casification. The removal of the military forces from Iraq worsened a situation that was already deteriorating (Pollack 2002). It was the cost suffered for failure of the Iraq forces to take full control of the security needs after leaving of the US troops. The case was different in 2009 when the military forces were withdrawn from Iraq. The withdrawal of the forces from urban areas did not result in insurgence, and it followed guidelines established by the American military forces and the Iraq forces (Ledwidge 2011). The state may be attributed to the presence of well laid out guidelines among the forces and improvement in the latter. The security forces in Iraq were intensified in the period from 2006 to 2009. The existence of better security forces ensures there is no division among the citizens along religious and ethnic lines since law and order are maintained. Partition is, therefore, not a solution to the existing conflicts between the various groups in Iraq (Stewart 2006). Several strategies that ensure peace and order to prevail among the citizens of the state need to be identified by the Iraq government. The government needs to ensure there is insurgence of militias and other gang groups that threaten the security of the state. The existence of militia groups, such as Al Qaeda, poses threat to the nation's security since they tend to dive the country along religious and ethnic lines (United States 2005).

2.3 Implications of the US and the Iraq War

During the end of the war in Iraq, several issues have arisen  in regard to the consequences of the following. Moments after the end of the war in Iraq, it took some time for the forces of United States to leave. The resistance in Iraq is stronger than it was expected. Peace in Baghdad can be achieved through a negotiated approach by the forces in Iraq after Hussein’s disappearance. The conflict in Iraq can be considered as a critical issue in determining international relations (Bremer & McConnell 2006). The costs incurred during the fight provide a basis for judgment on whether the Bush doctrine is worth. The costs incurred range from finance, diplomatic strains, casualties, and world opinion that is negative. The solution to the problem in Iraq involved all these costs, and the policy makers had to determine whether there are cheap mechanisms of ensuring resolution to the conflict that does exist (McKelvey 2007).

There are analysts who contend that the violence level in Iraq has indeed declined since the surge led by the United States military. The military improved the situation in Baghdad by providing adequate security (Hoffman 2006). However, if the incidences of insecurity, including bombing, can be used as the basis of measuring security, then, the situation in Iraq has never stabilized immediately American forces intervened. In the year 2007, the number of fatalities as a result of the bombings remained considerably the same (Palast 2006). According to the statistics given by the authorities of Iraq, 1500 civilians were reported dead. Although Baghdad has seen a decline in the number of civilians, the actions of militia groups, like the Al Qaeda, have seen the numbers constantly remain high. The number of military soldiers from the United States killed in the same year also rose (Weller 2010). The major militias of Shia in Iraq have adopted a low profile at the time of surge, but there are clear indications that the group may emerge. Several implications might have emanated from the surge including the evacuation of some members of Jaish al-Mahdi from the city of Sadr making the situation more insecure (Mohanty, Riley & Pratt 2008). It also allows the insurgents from Sunni Arab to increase attacks, and hence, the focus is made on the insurgent activities.

The realities in Iraq don’t seem to indicate any signs of achieving a well-united country. The multinational forces operating in Iraq together with the Iraq government have had unsuccessful operations since the death of Saddam Hussein and removal of his regime (Friel & Falk 2004). The efforts by Iraqi to undergo a transition from a dictatorial to a democratic state have been hallowing, and there is the likelihood of continuation and intensification of the multifaceted violence in Iraq. There are chances that Iraq may fall in the categories of a failed state due to the existing incidences of militia attacks (French & Short 2005).

The United States, the United Kingdom, and other states that are influential have undertaken a critical analysis of the situation in Iraq. The focus has been particularly on the social and political structure of the country. This analysis has its objective on finding strategies that may provide a long lasting solution to the situation in Iraq (Ederington & Mazarr 1994). However, the objective of achieving a united state of Iraq can only be achieved by first appreciating the facts on the ground in regard to the Iraq situation. The Iraq social fabric has been torn apart owing to the existence of various insurgencies and civil wars between organizations and communities with a diverse origin. The situation has developed the interest by some actors to have control over the situation by undermining the governance in the country. There exist Iraq nationalisms, but there is no existence of a single Iraqi nationalism. The country has been torn apart by various aspects division. Iraq is divided into regions that are dominated by ethnic, tribal, political or sectarian groupings. These groups have gained their strength from the informal economies in their localities. There has been increased presence of Al Qaeda in Iraq (Arnove & Abuminamah 2007). This group has occupied the major cities in the country, which include Kirkuk, Mosul, and Baghdad. Local actors highly condemned the position of Al Qaeda, and it has accelerated the conflict in the country.

The capacity to influence the situation in Iraq is more effective through the indulgence of the regional powers. The existence of a historical legacy in regard to religious association and social interaction is evident from the regional powers (Ludes 2009). The Iraq government cannot exert effectively even authority over the country. The existence of huge territorial swathes makes it difficult to order economic, social and political life. Normalization of security in Iraq will take long to be achieved, and thus, a time frame of several years should be developed. The withdrawal of multinational forces from Iraq is arguably not the best step towards ensuring security in the nation (Gaviria et al 2007). The existing security forces cannot contain the insecurity condition in Iraq. The development of Iraq in the coming years will influence the political direction in Iraq’s future. The development is expected to take place in a manner not achieved since the 2003 invasion (Coates, Krieger &Vickers 2004).

The invasion in Iraq by the United States also had some other motives in it. President Bush viewed attack on Iraq as a solution to the problems affecting America. Iraq and the whole Middle East being rich in oil were of much interest to the United States. The situation in Iraq could have affected access to oil by the American. To overcome this hurdle, the United States had to find a way of legitimizing the fight in Iraq; although, Iraq has never threatened the United States (Bernard et al 2007). The issue regarding weapons of mass destruction was raised with the objective of claiming that they were meant to turn against Iraq. Bush claimed that Hussein was part of the Al Qaeda and that he would use weapons of mass destruction on behalf of the terrorists, and thus, represented imminent danger to the US. These claims have been discredited since Iraq poses no threat to the security of the United States. The mass destruction weapons would have never intentioned to be used to fight America. Bush feared that the freedom of the United States would be constrained in regard to the actions in the Middle East (Jarecki 2008).

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