from Center for Preventive Action

Reversal in Iraq

Contingency Planning Memorandum No. 2

May 07, 2009

Contingency Planning Memorandum
Contingency Planning Memoranda identify plausible scenarios that could have serious consequences for U.S. interests and propose measures to both prevent and mitigate them.

More on:

Iraq

Conflict Prevention

Wars and Conflict

Overview

Iraq is currently in the early stages of a negotiated end to an intense ethnosectarian war. As such, there are several contingencies in which recent, mostly positive trends in Iraq could be reversed, threatening U.S. national interests. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum by Stephen Biddle assesses four interrelated scenarios in Iraq that could derail the prospects for peace and stability in the short to medium term and posits concrete policy options to limit U.S. vulnerability to the possibility of such reversals. It argues that the effectiveness of mitigating the consequences of a reversal is uncertain and that, therefore, a vigorous preventive strategy in the form of slowing the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq is less costly both politically and militarily in the long run.

More on:

Iraq

Conflict Prevention

Wars and Conflict

Explore More on CFR

Russia

If the President wants to use an arms build-up to advance arms control, he should take his cues from the Reagan record.

Yemen

The Gulf nation’s ground troops have cultivated alliances in Yemen with local armed groups, but its ability to shape the civil war’s outcome is limited.

U.S. Foreign Policy

U.S. competition with China continues to intensify, but rather than adopting a strategy of containment, the United States should respond by reinforcing its relationships with allies and leveraging China's desire for stability to discourage disruptive behavior.