National Review / Digital
Losing Iraq
We face a strategic debacle.

After a car-bomb attack in Baghdad, June 2012 (Karim Kadim/AP)



This failure may have resulted from a lack of desire on the part of the Obama administration to keep sufficient troops in Iraq, from its inability to make a deal, from its unreasonable demands, from Iraqi intransigence, or from all of the above. From a strategic and national-security standpoint, the only thing that matters is that by failing to secure a new agreement, the U.S. failed profoundly to secure its hard-won gains. Even more important, it failed to secure its interests.

It is most important of all to recognize the price of that failure. Iraq has become a major strategic vulnerability for the United States. It is an outlet for Iranian goods skirting sanctions. It is a launching pad for Iranian-backed terrorist groups looking for “plausible deniability.” It is a critical line of communication between Tehran and its once-solid proxy in Damascus. It is again becoming a safe haven for one of the most lethal and determined al-Qaeda franchises in the world. That franchise, in fact, is now projecting terrorist operations into Syria in a way it was never before able to do. And Iraq is in danger once again of becoming a failed state.

October 15, 2012    |     Volume LXIV, No. 19

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