Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University

U.S. Army Spc. Justin Towe scans his area while on a mission with Iraqi army soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division in Al Muradia village, Iraq, March, 13, 2007.
Photo credit: Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway

May 28, 2009 - CDDRL, FSI Stanford News

After America: How Iraq can ensure stability and achieve reconciliation

As the date of the America withdrawal from Iraq approaches, there are a number of key imperatives that must be addressed and important goals to be achieved to help assure that recent hard-won gains will not be reversed once the American withdrawal takes place, argues Larry Diamond, Director of FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), and a Senior Fellow at both FSI and the Hoover Institution, in a recent op ed in the Arabic magazine, The Majalla.

Although Iraqis are eager to be rid of U.S. troops after more than six years of occupation and Americans want to bring their troops home, both share the anxiety that too rapid a withdrawal, without first laying adequate foundations, could unravel hard-won political and security gains.  To prevent a descent into “horrific violence or tyranny” in Iraq after the United States withdraws, Diamond sets out four key imperatives:

  1. A more authentic and inclusive constitutional bargain must be struck among the major political, regional, and sectarian groups in Iraq;
  2. The Iraqi government must make good on its pledge to integrate the Sahwa mililtia, which played a major role in stabilizing large parts of Iraq and battling al Qaeda, into the country’s civilian forces and civilian jobs;
  3. Adequate provision must be made to assure a peaceful, fair, and open electoral process this coming December when the mandate of the Iraqi parliament will be renewed; and
  4. Vigilant, sustained, and effective action is needed to control the corruption that is currently diverting needed monies away from the vital tasks of rebuilding infrastructure, reviving schools and health care, and strengthening the economy and improving the quality of life.

Diamond, a world renowned authority on democracy and the factors facilitating democratic transitions and consolidations, served with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2004 and wrote a book about the experience titled, Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq.  His most recent, critically acclaimed book, is The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World (Times Books, 2008).

Topics: Corruption | Democracy | Rule of law and corruption | Violence and Education | Iraq | United States