Iraqi security forces parade in Tikrit, Iraq, July 1, 2009. The U.S. withdrew its combat troops from major urban areas on June 30 as part of a security agreement that will see U.S. forces out of Iraq by the end of 2011.
"A Risky Prospect for Iraq"
Op-Ed, Foreign Policy
June 30, 2009
Author: Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs
"As American troops pull back from Iraq's urban areas, a central question is whether Iraq's forces will be able to secure the peace. If history is any guide, Iraq's security forces face a challenging task. Ending civil wars and keeping them ended is not easy. Iraq faces three critical risk factors.
First, the violence was ended by a negotiated settlement. Iraq is a unique case when it comes to the emergence of civil war, which started with invasion and occupation by an outside power: the United States and its coalition partners. Yet rather than unite and attack the invaders cum occupiers, Iraqis turned on themselves. Stopping this self-destruction has entailed a series of negotiations and agreements between the parties to form a government and rule the country. In essence, no one side emerged victorious (as most recently by the government in Sri Lanka); rather, a negotiated settlement of sorts was put into place in Iraq, with each of the main factions guaranteed a say in running the government.
On the face of it, negotiated settlements are desirable outcomes for ending violence...."
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