In an op-ed published in the New York Times, Vice President Biden provides a sort of "State of the Union" of American involvement in Iraq while appealing to Congress to pass the administration's budget proposal for continued support of the civil and security mission there.
As the combat mission has ended, Biden argues that underfunding the non-combat mission would compromise the hard-won stability in that nation, undermining the leaders' ability to strengthen institutions and increase overall stability and security.
Biden cites the following objectives as imperative priorities to attain political and security successes in Iraq, those key and central elements whose funding will be determined by Congress:
- Strengthen both the size and abilities of Iraqi security forces;
- Provide leaders the resources to conduct nation-wide census;
- Integrate Kurdish forces into Iraqi security forces while resolving ongoing internal border disputes (including the fate of Kirkuk);
- Maintain commitments to Sunni groups, crucial to fighting insurgents;
- Pass hydrocarbon law to more evenly distribute oil revenues among the Iraqi people;
- Pass a sound, responsible budget while facilitating economic growth by attracting foreign investment and private sector growth and diversifying revenue sources (beyond oil)
Biden also makes the case that Iraq will soon wield the full power of its natural resources to finance economic and security objectives, and that a continued Iraqi commitment to civil society will result in greater overall autonomy. Until then, US engagement is critical even as the American government seeks to dig itself out of crisis conditions.
- Amy Greene
Source: What We Must Do for Iraq Now - J. Biden (NYT)
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