US officials are quietly developing a plan to stabilize Iraq by neutralizing subversive and corrupt elements within the government, the Washington Post reports. The classified plan, still being finalized by Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker, shifts the focus of America's strategy in Iraq from military to political objectives.
The Petraeus-Crocker plan devotes more troops to protecting Iraqi civilians, as officials work to improve local government capability to deliver services. But to work, observers say, the US will have to eliminate a small but influential contingent of corrupt officials in the Iraqi government. "The focus has to be on abusive sectarian actors," says a US official involved in the plan.