Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How Well Will The Iraqi Army Stand On Their Own?

As the American military pulls out of Iraqi cities today, allowing Iraqi forces to take full control of their own security, many questions remain how well this military will perform on their own. In just the past 10 days, 250 persons have died in terrorist bombing incidents, as Iraqi forces seemed unable to stem this violence. On one hand, Al Qaeda or other terrorist elements in Iraq have no military means whatsoever to overthrow the government of Iraq. In fact, Al Qaeda only presents a tiny portion of Sunni radicals in the largely Shiite controlled Iraq. Likely, there is no way that Iraqi security forces will fall completely apart and turn helpless like the grossly failed Vietnamization of the Vietnam War. But some serious problems could develop.

While sectarian violence problems have gotten much better, and less frictions remain between the two rival Sunni and Shiite sects, new frictions could again flare up. Further, Iran might attempt to increase it's influence in Iraq with less of an active American presence. And right now with tensions between Iran and the West worsening, Iraq remains as Iran's closest and most likely prospect area to expand it's political influence and to spread Shiite power in the region.

At some point, the United States really needed to hand back power to the people of Iraq. Nationalistic sentiments run strong in Iraq. However, the United States really needs to take the risks of allowing those in Iraq to better manage their own affairs, although some serious risks of Iran seeking to expand it's influence or renewed sectarian problems remain as serious risks.