James Forsyth

The surge has given Iraq hope again

The surge has given Iraq hope again
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The remarkable military success of the US surge in Iraq has been the most important international story of the year. As Tim Hames writes this morning, the prospects for Iraq look brighter than they have for a long time.

“First, the country will now have the time to establish itself. A year ago it seemed as if American forces would have been withdrawn in ignominious fashion either well before the end of the Bush Administration or, at best, days after the next president came to office. This will not now happen. The self-evident success of the surge has obliged the Democrats to start talking about almost anything else and the calls to cut and run have abated. If the US Army remains in Iraq in strength, continuing on its present path, then deals on a constitution and the division of oil revenues between provinces will be realised. 

Secondly, the aspiration that Iraq could be some sort of “beacon” in the region is no longer ridiculous. It will never be Sweden with beards, but there has been the development of a vibrant capitalist class and a media of a diversity that is unique in the region. Were Iraq to emerge with a federal political structure, regular local and national elections and an economic dynamism in which the many, not the few, could share, then it would be a model.” A large amount of the credit for the turn around in Iraq must go to General Petraeus (pictured) who has successfully reshaped American strategy. One definite gain from the Iraq war has been the emergence of a new generation of military leaders more attuned to the current type of conflict. Petraeus’s role as chair of the army promotions board should ensure that these officers rise to the very top.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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