Iraqis Fear Rapid US Withdrawal Would Cause 'Chaos and Anarchy,' Says Iraqi Parliamentarian
By Josiah Ryan
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
June 02, 2008
(CNSNews.com) - Most Iraqis support the U.S. troop presence in Iraq and think a rapid withdrawal would lead to "chaos and anarchy," said Adnan Pachachi, a member of the National Assembly of Iraq and a former president of Iraq's Governing Council (IGC), on Friday. He also said that the best policy now lies somewhere between the strategies outlined by Sen. John McCain (r-Ariz.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
"There is very widespread support for an American presence in the short and intermediate term," said Pachachi, who spoke at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. "The majority or Iraqis feel that a large scale reduction of the troops in the near future will plunge the country into chaos and into anarchy. "
McCain has said that America should maintain its current policy in Iraq while Obama has said he supports a fairly rapid and scheduled withdrawal. When asked about those two positions by Cybercast News Service, Pachachi said that the United States still needed to provide more military support to Iraqi security forces. He added, however, that the best model for Iraq right now is "somewhere in between" the policies of McCain and Obama.
"I think we have to help the new Iraqi government to really take over the responsibility for security by helping it to organize the armed forces so that they can be relied on to do their job," he said.
McCain's campaign Web site states that he thinks withdrawal should not occur before "Iraqi forces can safeguard their own country."
While Obama and Clinton both say they favor withdrawal, none has offered a definitive plan or timetable. NBC's Tim Russert asked Obama and Clinton during the Sept. 26, 2007, Democratic presidential debate if they would pledge to withdraw U.S. combat troops by 2013 should one of them be elected president. Neither Obama nor Clinton would make the pledge, saying there were too many variables involved to make such a commitment at that time.
Pachachi said that he was in Baghdad less then a week ago and, despite general unrest across the country he did see signs of improvement in security.
"I can confirm that the overall security situation has improved some what," he said. "But overall security in Iraq is still fragile and precarious. Even in pacified regions there is anxiety and fear that violence may erupt again because the militias still have their weapons and their infrastructures remains intact."
According to unclassified portions of the National Intelligence Estimate, which was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in January of 2007, a rapid withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq would cause great insecurity and unrest.
"If coalition forces were withdrawn rapidly during the term of this estimate, we judge that this almost certainly would lead to a significant increase in the scale and scope of sectarian conflict in Iraq, intensify Sunni resistance to the Iraqi Government, and have adverse consequences for national reconciliation," the report said.