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New report: Alternative futures for Iraq and implications for the region & U.S. policy

  • Mitchell ReissThe report series editor was Ambassador Mitchell B. Reiss (ret.), Diplomat-in-Residence at the College of William and Mary. He served as Director of Policy Planning in the U.S. State Department under Colin L. Powell and was President Bush's Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Peace Process.

    Photo by Stephen Salpukas

    Mitchell Reiss
Tenuous internal conditions-complicated by difficult relationships with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Syria-pose the greatest challenges to Iraq's future. So found a new report authored by Charles W. Dunne, former adviser to the Director for Strategic Plans and Policy at the Joint Staff in the Pentagon, and Director for Iraq at the National Security Council from 2005-2007, and edited by Meghan L. O'Sullivan, former Special Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan under President George W. Bush. The report, issued under the auspices of the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations at the College of William and Mary, was released today.
 
Among the report's key findings:
 
  • Iran is "seeking to become the chief arbiter of Iraqi politics... Tehran has used elements of its Revolutionary Guards... to infiltrate Iraqi security agencies and develop an extensive network of agents and informants... Iranian money has sought to influence Iraqi politicians and gain influence within Iraq's government ministries."
 
  • "In addition to Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia-and to a lesser but important extent, Syria-are the most significant external players in Iraq's politics in the region."
 
  • "A US failure to maintain a firm commitment to Iraq may eventually require US intervention under difficult circumstances in future regional crises."
 
  • "Four possible futures-Iraq as a weak state, Iraq as a stable and secure state, Iraq as a strong centralized state, and Iraq as a failed state-are the most likely, with widely different implications for Iraq's stability and relations with other countries."
 
In addition to Mr. Dunne, a former Foreign Service officer specializing in the Middle East, and Dr. O'Sullivan, currently a lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School, the report series editor was Ambassador Mitchell B. Reiss (ret.), Diplomat-in-Residence at the College of William and Mary. He served as Director of Policy Planning in the U.S. State Department under Colin L. Powell and was President Bush's Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Peace Process.
 
The report is now available on the Institute's website at http://irtheoryandpractice.wm.edu.