The United States should reassign its personnel from the Baghdad embassy to consulates throughout Iraq to help assist in initiatives needed to better advance U.S. interests in Iraq. These consulates would be located in areas of Iraq that are relatively safer, such as Erbil in the northern Kurdish autonomous region. They would require additional security protection, including a contingent of at least two hundred Marines with backup air support from U.S. military bases in neighboring countries.
In addition to serving as a base for intelligence operations against global terrorists who flocked to Iraq in the wake of the U.S. invasion, these consulates should provide increased consular services to assist the millions of Iraqis internally displaced by Iraq’s conflicts and help Iraqis who sided with us secure visas to travel to the United States and other countries. Finally, these provincial outposts could work more closely with international aid agencies to help Iraqi provincial and local institutions improve their capacity to govern and root out corruption in order to provide a better quality of life for Iraqi citizens.
For more information about the Center for American Progress’ policies on the war in Iraq, please see: