||Time For An Iraq Reorg?
by Laura Mansfield [author, analyst] 11/21/06
Anyone with more than a fleeting knowledge of life in corporate America is probably familiar with the term "reorg" - a corporate reorganization or restructuring that is designed to re-invigorate a corporate structure that has become stagnant and is no longer benefiting the corporation.
A corporate reorg often involves bringing in new top level management. Workgroups and roles within the groups are created, eliminated, redefined, and shuffled between groups. Layoffs are not uncommon; outsourcing is often used as a tool.
Laura Mansfield is a writer and commentator on issues regarding the Middle
East, Islam, and Radical Islamic Terrorism.
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Nation Under Allah
Reorgs can be stressful at the very least, and can be downright painful in many cases for the people caught up in a reorg.
But sometimes a reorg is the only way to get a struggling business back on track to profitability. And sometimes it takes more than one reorg, as the newly redefined corporate culture may not work the first time through.
It is looking more and more every day like it's time for the governmental equivalent of a corporate reorg, especially in the War on Terror.
It's obvious that the Iraq strategy is not working.
That doesn't mean the United States should "cut and run". In fact, a major part of the problem we are facing in Iraq is our track record as a country of running away with our tail between our legs when things get ugly.
The "corporate planners and strategists" of Al Qaeda know their history - and they know how the Americans let Saigon, Beirut, Mogadishu, and southern Iraq. They know that in each case, when the US took major casualties and major PR hits, that we packed up and left those countries quickly, leaving chaos in our wake.
Those who supported, trusted, aligned themselves with, and worked with American forces were abandoned to fend for themselves. Many, labeled as tools of the "oppressors", found themselves and their families persecuted and some lost their lives at the hands of leaders like Saddam Hussein, who were determined to punish them for their support of the US.
Right now the mindset of American enemies is that they are close, if they can just make things a little worse and take a few more American lives that they will be able to force the US to pack up and leave.
We may have won the "war" in Iraq, but we've lost the peace. America, which was once held in high respect throughout the world, is now treated with disdain and outright contempt. Anti-American sentiment is growing.
And we're feeding it.
We're failing to implement the actions that helped the world love America after World War II, and instead are resorting to many of the same methods and techniques that gave raise to Nazi Germany in the wake of World War I's disasterous Versailles Treaty.
We're seen as stupid, corrupt, arrogant, and immoral.
To them, we are.
We seem completely oblivious to the cultural differences. And those cultural differences are profound.
We are also oblivious to the religious differences.
The war in Iraq did not start as a clash of civilizations, or of religions. But it has evolved into one.
Mistakes have been made in Iraq. What should have been a quick surgical operation has evolved into a fulminating infection, and ultimately it is the Iraqi people who are paying the price.
There is still no central government in Baghdad that has earned legitimacy from the Iraqi people. The US completely and totally underestimated the power of the insurgency. By not sealing the borders of Iraq, the US allowed an almost completely unlimited supply of foreign manpower for the insurgency, with reinforcements continuing to stream in through Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iran.
We are rapidly approaching a decision point in Iraq; ultimately a "defining moment" is nearing.
Public opinion in the US against the war in Iraq is growing rapidly.
Public opinion against the US in Iraq is growing rapidly too, largely because we have failed to do the job we have promised, and things are quickly going from bad to worse.
However, a pullout of US forces from Iraq, a la Saigon, Beirut, and Mogadishu is unthinkable; we would leave behind a Iraqi people doomed to an unbelievable hell, just like we did in those other pullouts. Do we really want to set up another situation like we did in Lebanon, where our pullout helped enable Hezbullah to flourish?
So what is the solution?
We hear more and more that this is a US-Zionist Crusader War. Resentment against US troops in Islamic countries is growing.
It's way past time for a fundamental reorg in Iraq.
Twenty percent of the world's population is Muslim.
Perhaps we need to look to the Muslim world for the solution.
The OIC-back Mecca Declaration brought Shi'ite and Sunni clerics from Iraq together in an effort to reach a common ground on which to commence state-building, and reduce the sectarian violence.
Why not encourage this?
Sure, arguments will be floated that any Islamic-led government is doomed to be Talibanesque. That fear isn't reality based.
The sectarian hatred may have reached the point where a single Iraqi state isn't feasible. This may have been inevitable in any case. Iraq's borders are recent, drawn in the Sykes Picot agreement between Britain and France when the Ottoman Empire broke up less than a century ago. Even Saddam Hussein did not fully recognize the borders of Iraq, as witnessed in his 1989 invasion of Kuwait.
There are at least three distinct states within Iraq. Only the brute force of the Saddam Hussein government was able to hold together the Kurds, the Shi'ites of the south, and the Sunnis of Iraq into one state. There are strong tribal loyalties still at play in the region. Nationalism as we know it in today the West is non-existent in Iraq.
Perhaps it is time to encourage the OIC initiative. Perhaps it's time to allow the Muslim world to step up to the plate and see if they can do any better than the US could in stabilizing Iraq.
The growing anti-American sentiment is at such a crescendo that it is going to become more and more difficult for the US to stabilize the region. Almost anything the US tries is going to result in a significant backlash.
The US should NOT cut and run, however.
The expression "a vacuum sucks" has considerable merit.
We can't pull out and leave a vacuum in Iraq because the worst of the worst would be sucked into power. The Iraqi people do not deserve that. They are already bearing the burden of our current policy. We owe them a "way out" of this mess.
Instead, we should facilitate the formulation of a strategy or rebuilding Iraq, with the UN and the OIC, in conjunction with representatives of the Iraqi people.
The initial goal should be the rapid replacement of US troops with troops from Islamic countries, with the long term goal of transferring responsibility for Iraqi security to Iraq.
The US announced earlier this month that an additional 100,000 Iraqi security forces need to be trained to held secure the country. Instead of the US training these forces, why not let countries like Egypt and Jordan do this training, with funding from the Muslim world?
Ultimately the United States should begin to think in terms of the post-World War II Marshall Plan, helping fund the rebuilding of the Iraqi economy in conjunction with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. After all, a stable Iraq is in their security interests as well.
In the long run, this will help quell the growing tide of anti-American sentiment.
It would be a major reorg.
But things aren't working now. They are getting worse.
In the corporate world when things don't work, you change them.
It's time for a change. CRO
2006 Laura Mansfield