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  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US may not face peer threats in the near to mid term, but it faces a wide variety of lesser threats that make maintaining effective military forces, foreign aid, and other national security programs a vital national security interest. The US does need to reshape its national security planning and strategy to do a far better job of allocating resources to meet these threats. It needs to abandon theoretical and conceptual exercises in strategy that do not focus on detailed force plans, manpower plans, procurement plans, and budgets; and use its resources more wisely. The US still dominates world military spending, but it must recognize that maintaining the US economy is a vital national security interest in a world where the growth and development of other nations and regions means that the relative share the US has in the global economy will decline steadily over time, even under the best circumstances. At the same time, US dependence on the security and stability of the global economy will continue to grow indefinitely in the future. Talk of any form of "independence," including freedom from energy imports, is a dangerous myth. The US cannot maintain and grow its economy without strong military forces and effective diplomatic and aid efforts. US military and national security spending already places a far lower burden on the US economy than during the peaceful periods of the Cold War, and existing spending plans will lower that burden in the future. National security spending is now averaging between 4% and 5% of the GDP -- in spite of the fact the US has been fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- versus 6-7% during the Cold War.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Government, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US may not face peer threats in the near to mid term, but it faces a wide variety of lesser threats that make maintaining effective military forces, foreign aid, and other national security programs a vital national security interest. The US does need to reshape its national security planning and strategy to do a far better job of allocating resources to meet these threats. It needs to abandon theoretical and conceptual exercises in strategy that do not focus on detailed force plans, manpower plans, procurement plans, and budgets; and use its resources more wisely. The US still dominates world military spending, but it must recognize that maintaining the US economy is a vital national security interest in a world where the growth and development of other nations and regions means that the relative share the US has in the global economy will decline steadily over time, even under the best circumstances. At the same time, US dependence on the security and stability of the global economy will continue to grow indefinitely in the future. Talk of any form of “independence,” including freedom from energy imports, is a dangerous myth. The US cannot maintain and grow its economy without strong military forces and effective diplomatic and aid efforts. US military and national security spending already places a far lower burden on the US economy than during the peaceful periods of the Cold War, and existing spending plans will lower that burden in the future. National security spending is now averaging between 4% and 5% of the GDP – in spite of the fact the US has been fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – versus 6-7% during the Cold War.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iraq is in an ongoing struggle to establish a new national identity, and one that can bridge across the deep sectarian divisions between its Shi'ites and Sunnis as well as the ethnic divisions between its Arabs and its Kurds and other minorities. At the same time, Iraq's leaders must try to build a new structure of governance, economics, and social order after a mix of dictatorship, war, sanctions, occupation, and civil conflict that began in the 1970s and have continued ever since.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Post Colonialism, Regime Change, Counterinsurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: During the coming months, the US must reshape its strategy and force posture relative to Iraq and the Gulf States. It must take account of its withdrawal of most of its forces from Iraq, and whether or not it can give real meaning to the US­Iraqi Strategic Framework Agreement. It must deal with steadily increasing strategic competition with Iran, it must restructure its post-­Iraq War posture in the Southern Gulf and Turkey, and define new goals for strategic partnerships with the Gulf states and its advisory and arms sales activity. It must decide how to best contain Iran, and to work with regional friends and allies in doing so. In the process, it must also reshape its strategy for dealing with key states like Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Yemen.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Aram Nerguizian
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf military balance is dominated by five major factors: The Southern Gulf states, Iran, Iraq, outside powers like the US, and non-state actors like the various elements of Al Qa'ida, the Mahdi militia, and various tribal forces. At present, the Southern Gulf states have large military resources but limited real-world effectivenerss and have made limited progress towards collective and integrated defense.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It may well be early 2011 before we know the actual results of the Iraqi election, and not because there were problems in the way the election was held, or in the counting of votes. Prime Minister Maliki is playing power politics with a relatively honest election, not protesting one with serious abuses. Elections, however, are ultimately about two things: Who gains power and who can govern.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Economics are as important to Iraq's stability and political accommodation as security and governance, and they are equally critical to creating a successful strategic partnership between Iraq and the United States. It is far from easy, however, to analyze many of the key factors and trends involved. Iraqi data are weak and sometimes absent. U.S. and Coalition forces generally failed to look in detail at many of Iraq's most serious economic problems, or they issued heavily politicized reports designed to show that Iraqi “reconstruction” had been far more successful than it really was.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Adam Mausner
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The security arena will face the most drastic changes in U.S.-Iraqi strategic relations over the next two years. Iraq must assume all responsibility for its internal and external security once the United States withdraws by December 31, 2011, unless it invokes the terms of the Strategic Agreement to seek additional US aid. Iraq must both deal with its own insurgents and with problems in its relations with neighboring countries like Iran, Syria, and the Gulf states. This makes the continued improvement of all elements of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) vital both to Iraq and to the stability of the region, during the period of US withdrawal in 2010-2011 and in the years that follow.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Elena Derby
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Although Iraq has made political progress over the past few years it still falls far short of the level of political accommodation it needs to control its ethnic and sectarian divisions, ensure adequate representation for all ethno-religious groups, and create the conditions for effective governance. Despite the success of the national elections in March 2010, when over two thirds of the population defied threats of violence to cast their ballots—with a particularly strong turnout among Sunnis and Kurds—it is still unclear whether Iraq can form a stable ―national coalition government. If Iraq is successful, it will still take years for the new elected and appointed officials to develop the capacity they need to govern effectively.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iraq is changing rapidly, although the outcomes of many of these changes remain unclear. The country faces major challenges in many areas—ranging from quelling the ongoing violence to achieving political accommodation and economic stability. Each of these challenges is critical to the future security and stability of Iraq: Defeat the threat posed by the remnants of the Sunni insurgency, neo-Ba'athists, and Shi'ite militias. Deal with the risk of new forms of ethnic and sectarian violence——especially ethnic conflict between Arab, Kurd, and other minorities in the North. Create effective Iraqi security forces that can fully replace U.S. forces, defeat or reduce the various insurgent and terrorist groups to acceptable levels of activity, enforce the rule of law, and grow strong enough to ensure Iraq's security from threats or pressure from neighboring states. Restructure the Iraqi government to both reflect the results of the 2010 Parliamentary elections and create a level of effective governance that can bring together all of the nation's major factions. Accelerate the slow pace of political accommodation and meet the need for stable political compromises between each major faction so as to rebuild full national unity over time. Find a new balance between central, provincial, and local governance that effectively serves the needs of the Iraqi people, aids political accommodation, builds capacity, reduces corruption, and shifts the climate from one dominated by counterinsurgency to one focused on the rule of law. Cope with the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and underemployment; poor distribution of income; and key problems in the agricultural, industrial, and service sectors than affect large portions of the population. Move Iraq toward economic development in ways that deal with the complex heritage of nearly 30 years of war and internal conflict; massive population growth; and the need to create a competitive economy. Put Iraq's budget on a stable path toward developing effective Iraqi security forces and government services; helping fund economic reconstruction and development; dealing with the near phaseout of international aid and continuing foreign debt and reparations issues; and reducing the dependence of the government on uncertain levels of oil export earnings for the majority of its revenues.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Arabia, Kurdistan