Hey, Obama: In Iraq Exit, Don't Forget Strategy

US withdrawal or not, the country still has 'geostrategic significance'
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2010 1:45 PM CST
Police and civilians inspect the scene of a car bombing near Mosul, Iraq.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Iraq is centrally important to the Middle East region, and the Obama administration does the country and the world a disservice by focusing on troop withdrawal without considering the future, writes Henry Kissinger. “The outcome in Iraq will influence the psychological balance in the war against radical Islam, specifically whether the ongoing withdrawal from Iraq comes to be perceived as a retreat from the region or a more effective way to sustain it.”

“Brief visits by high officials are useful as symbols. But of what?” Kissinger asks in the Washington Post. “Operational continuity is needed in a strategic concept for a region over which the specter of Iran increasingly looms.” Should a Shiite Iraqi government ally itself with Iran, it will cause a “fundamental shift in the balance of the region” that the US “will have partially contributed to.” The US’ path seems set, but “in executing an exit strategy, we must make sure that strategy remains linked to exit.”

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