Iraq’s neighbors can stabilize Iraq by helping secure its borders, helping its refugees, and contributing to its reconstruction efforts. In the past, President Barack Obama and other key members of his cabinet talked about the need for a regional contact group and diplomatic effort to get Iraq the support it needs from its neighbors. That was a good idea when he was running for office and it remains a good idea now.
As Iraq continues to stand on its own and the United States continues to decrease its military presence inside the country, the Obama administration needs to follow a strategic plan that is connected to broader security dynamics in the region. One key goal should be to help reintegrate Iraq into regional security system that aims to reduce tensions among all of the countries involved, including Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
Today’s withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities is an important first step in ending America’s combat mission in Iraq and in keeping America’s promises to Iraq. With the redeployment of combat troops, it is to U.S. diplomats and development experts that the task of building an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant falls.
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