(from EADSURLs no.49)
IRAQ: ONE YEAR AFTER.
Thomas R. Pickering, Eric Schwartz, and James R. Schlesinger.
Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Independent Task Force on Post-Conflict Iraq. March 9, 2004.
While noting "significant progress" in the post-conflict reconstruction and political transition effort, the Task Force reports that the planned transfer of sovereignty on June 30, combined with U.S. troop reductions from Iraqi cities and uncertainty about long-term U.S. funding, has created doubts about U.S. staying power. To avoid destabilizing the effort and demoralizing Iraqis, the Task Force urges the Bush administration, the Democratic nominee for president, and Congressional leaders to:
* declare that coalition forces will continue to provide essential security in Iraq until the Iraqi security forces can do so on their own;
* emphasize that the transfer of sovereignty does not signal a diminished U.S. commitment to supporting stability, reconstruction and a peaceful political transition;
* affirm that the United States is prepared to sustain a multi-billion dollar commitment to Iraq for at least the next several years; and
* ensure broad involvement of Iraqis, and promote a leading role for the United Nations in the political transition process.
The Task Force report contains a range of recommendations for enhancing the coalition's effort to help Iraqis become more involved in the future management of their country. These include: increasing incentives for U.S. government service in Iraq; improving management of U.S. assistance efforts; moving quickly to structure the administration and staffing of a new U.S. embassy; promoting job creation; advancing the status of women; implementing a more effective public diplomacy effort; and ensuring transparent and accountable monitoring procedures for the oil industry.