Center for American Progress

Initiate Regional Security and Diplomatic Efforts to Contain and Resolve Iraq’s Conflicts while Reshaping the Geopolitical Balance in the Region
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Initiate Regional Security and Diplomatic Efforts to Contain and Resolve Iraq’s Conflicts while Reshaping the Geopolitical Balance in the Region

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The United States should begin intense regional and international efforts to contain, manage, and ultimately resolve each of Iraq’s conflicts. The United States should build on the suggestions of the Iraq Study Group and the steps already taken by the Bush administration in the first half of 2007 to participate in regional security conferences in Baghdad and Egypt and hold bilateral discussions with Iran.

All of Iraq’s neighbors have a stake in key aspects of Iraq’s internal conflicts. The consequences of an escalated conflict in Iraq could be dire for these countries—more refugees, the possible spread of attacks by global terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and its affiliates, and more crime and lawlessness. A sustained set of regional initiatives could help lessen the violence within Iraq and help reduce the potential threat of these conflicts spilling beyond Iraq’s borders. These initiatives include enhancing border security, boosting cooperation on regional counterterrorism efforts, and encouraging security confidence-building measures to avoid more military conflict.

The United States should also work with other global powers and key allies in the Middle East to build consensus for a new United Nations Security Council Resolution to replace the one that expires on December 31, 2007. This new U.N. resolution should ensure that other countries do their share, including sending troops to Iraq, to help stabilize Iraq and the Middle East. It must include transparent, verifiable commitments by Iraq’s neighbors not to undermine Iraq’s security. The resolution should incorporate the efforts made to create the International Compact for Iraq, a five-year plan launched in April of this year under the auspices of the United Nations with benchmarks for Iraq’s national reconciliation and economic reconstruction, as well as formal commitments of support from the international community.

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