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Last chance to win the war in Iraq

By David T. Pyne
web posted June 14, 2004

It is imperative that the US act now to abandon its current failed policy in Iraq which if followed through will result in the holding of "one man, one vote one time" elections culminating in the election of a fundamentalist Shiite government in Iraq which will likely transform the country into a theocratic Islamist republic similar to that enjoyed by their Islamist terror-supporting Iranian benefactors. Ultimately, the only way that the United States can effectively win the war in Iraq is to ensure the appointment of an Iraqi government committed to fighting Islamist terrorism in Iraq and opposing terrorism worldwide or in other words one that is generally pro-US in outlook.

Iraqi interim President Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawer (L) confers with US President George W. Bush during the G8 Summit on Sea Island in the southeastern coastal state of Georgia
Iraqi interim President Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawer (L) confers with US President George W. Bush during the G8 Summit on Sea Island in the southeastern coastal state of Georgia

Most importantly, we need to transfer full, not mere partial sovereignty to a permanent Iraqi government as quickly as possible with the non-negotiable requirement that it be pro-US. This means that we need to present an outline for a new, largely US written permanent constitution for Iraq to replace the woefully deficient interim constitution now in place. This permanent constitution should be completed as soon as possible and no later than November 2004 to allow time to organize permanent elections for the new Iraqi parliament and the new Iraqi President in January 2005. The Coalition Provisional Authority should propose that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, rather than Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, a Sunni, be appointed to the position of interim President of Iraq pending the election of a new President in January to a seven-year term. Under this proposed constitution, as under the current interim one, the President of Iraq would be merely a figurehead. The position of Prime Minister, on the other hand, should be elected to a five-year term by an Iraqi Senate evenly divided between its three largest ethnic and religious groups. The Iraqi House of Representatives, on the other hand, would be popularly elected based on proportional representation, which would all but guarantee a substantial Shiite majority of its members.

Numerous recent newspaper accounts have stated that leading State Department Middle East experts along with many CIA veterans favored putting the Sunnis and even the Ba'athists back in charge to stabilize Iraq and more effectively fight the Shiite terrorist rebellion. In furtherance of the recommendations, Tariq Aziz, a Christian and former Ba'ath party member with broad support from both Iraqi Christians and Sunni Arabs, rather than the current Shiite Prime Minister designate Iyad Allawi, should be appointed to serve as Iraq's first interim and permanent Prime Minister providing only that he renounces his former membership in the Ba'ath party and publicly denounces former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The appointment of a moderate secularist Christian with strong Sunni ties like Aziz would be the best way to ensure an effective transition of power to the new constitutional republican government of Iraq and even more importantly prevent Iraq's Iranian-backed Islamist Shiite fundamentalists from seizing power. Aziz, who previously served as Iraq's Foreign Minister, is widely respected by many countries throughout the world having served for many years as the leading moderate voice in Iraq's pre-war government and has not been connected to any of the human rights abuses committed by the Saddam regime. The Kurds and the Shiites would protest his appointment, but given that he is a moderate and given that there are checks and balances that prevent him from persecuting those who oppose him outside of crushing violent rebellions against the new Iraqi government, I believe that he could win the support of the Kurds and perhaps a significant number of moderate Shia as well.

Effectively, this would mean that Iraq would probably end up with a Shiite head of state, a Shiite majority house of representatives and a Shiite deputy Prime Minister with a Christian Prime Minister, a Sunni First Deputy Prime Minister and a Kurdish Deputy Prime Minister with a Senate which would be evenly divided between the three ethnic or religious regions of Iraq. This arrangement would allow a Prime Minister to be elected with the support of the Sunnis and the Kurds enabling them to effectively check the Iranian-backed terror supporting Shiite fundamentalists now attempting to takeover the country whether by force of arms or democratic means.

Iraq should not allowed to become an Islamic state, but rather should be given a secular constitution similar to Turkey's. The new constitution would strike out the current interim Constitution's provision that Islamic law is to be used as a source of Iraqi law. The new Iraqi constitution should ban extremist Iraqi political parties such as the Ba'athist Party, Communist Party and fundamentalist parties such as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Al Dawa party along with any future political party linked to Mohakta Sadr.

The US should withdraw its troops from all major Iraqi cities (except for a small leadership protection force around Baghdad) and begin immediately to reduce the size of its military forces in Iraq from the current 135,000 men to approximately 30,000 men. The primary mission of these troops would be to help guarantee that the Iraqi elections for a permanent government in January 2005 are free and fair with no irregularities. All internal security functions and internal policing functions should be handed over to the Iraqis by June 30th. These troops would also serve as a strategic hedge against a fundamentalist takeover of the country and could be used to both deter and overturn such a takeover if the new constitutional republic were threatened.

I believe that the implementation of this plan or something very similar represents America's last chance to win the war in Iraq and avert either a prolonged occupation resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans or a humiliating US military retreat forced upon us by a future Shiite anti-American regime and its supporters. Lastly, implementation of a plan such as this to stabilize Iraq and extricate our troops from the Iraqi quagmire and do so quickly represents President Bush's best hope to salvage his increasingly imperiled re-election bid.

David T. Pyne can be reached at: pyne@national-security.org. David T. Pyne, Esq. is a national security expert who serves as President of the Center for the National Security Interest, a national security think-tank based in Arlington, VA. Mr. Pyne is a licensed attorney and former United States Army Officer. He holds an MA in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. Mr. Pyne also serves as President of the Virginia Republican Assembly. He also serves as a Contributing Editor to DefenseWatch magazine and to Soldiers for the Truth. He has been invited to appear on CNBC and was recently invited to serve as an occasional Fox News commentator to express his views on assorted national security issues. © 2004 David T. Pyne

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