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Ten Scenarios for John Negroponte in Iraq

  1. No agreement. The June 30th deadline approaches and no agreement is struck by UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for a transitional government. The Interim Governing Council seizes this opportunity to promote its continued existence and grip on power. The Iraqi people, led by militants, reject continued governance by the Council, claiming it has no legitimacy and is beholden to its American backers.
  2. Contractors arrested. Confusion continues to exist about what legal jurisdiction the new Iraqi authority has over U.S. military, diplomatic, and civilian personnel. Despite the signing agreements covering the U.S. military and embassy staff, the more than 15,000 U.S. private military contractors in the country are left without legal protection. Iraqi authorities arrest, detain, and hold a group of them for serious crimes committed under Iraqi law. They designate them unlawful combatants and refuse to provide the embassy with access.
  3. No security for elections. The security situation fails to improve. There is no movement on disbanding the militias as Shiites and Sunnis refuse to disarm the security forces until the Kurds guarantee that they will disband the more than 40,000 Peshmerga. Fearing widespread voter intimidation, the U.N. declares that elections cannot be held in January 2005.
  4. Sistani loses patience. Tired of waiting for the United States and upset by what he sees as broken promises, Grand Ayatollah Sistani rejects the U.S., U.N., and transitional administration's decision to hold elections in January 2005. He continues to refuse to meet directly with U.S. authorities. He calls for immediate elections and threatens to rally the Shiite majority to take to the streets to protest the continuing "occupation" by the U.S. government.
  5. Transitional government turns on the U.S. The new transitional government picked by UN envoy Brahimi becomes disenchanted with "limited sovereignty." They become increasingly resentful of the U.S. heavy presence, attempt to consolidate their power, and attempt to derail the elections. Despite continuing instability throughout the country, they insist that U.S. soldiers leave Iraq immediately.
  6. Iranians assisting al-Sadr. The U.S. government discovers that Iranian authorities are providing assistance to Moqtada al-Sadr and his al-Mahdi army. In addition to funding the insurgency, they provide weapons and supplies. The Iranians tap into the growing anti-American sentiment in the country and begin supporting other armed factions throughout the country.
  7. Elected government rejects American values. After the planned January 2005 elections, the new government in power is openly hostile to the United States and increasingly repressive toward Iraqis. The new government rejects the Coalition's previous efforts to protect human rights, guarantee civil liberties and it takes the extraordinary step of repealing the bill of rights. It threatens to impose strict Islamic law on the population.
  8. U.S. military storms holy cities. Militants and insurgents continue to withdraw to religious sites in Iraq's most sacred cities (i.e. Najaf). Acting without consulting outside the Pentagon, U.S. military commanders use massive force to put down the unrest. Mosques are destroyed, scores of civilians die in the attacks, and anti-American fervor grows.
  9. Resources run dry. The Administration fails to request the FY05 supplemental for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and the military must accomplish its tasks without the necessary equipment, supplies, and manpower. This is coupled by a major attack on key Iraqi oil terminals and pipelines, shutting down oil production dramatically for the foreseeable future. Billions of dollars from oil revenues are no longer able to fund reconstruction, leading to a huge shortfall in the Iraqi budget that the U.S. government cannot bridge.
  10. Tribunal calls on U.S. officials to testify. The Iraqi Special Tribunal is established. Saddam Hussein contracts the services of a high-profile French lawyer to defend him. Seeking to embarrass the U.S. and discredit the tribunal, the defense lawyer calls on the U.S. Ambassador to publicly testify in the trials and respond to the charges that U.S. sanctions led to the deaths of thousands of Iraqi children and constituted a "crime against humanity."

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