Because of the greatly improved situation in the counterinsurgency war in Iraq there will be a terrible temptation to think that Iraqis have now accepted a long term American military presence in their country. That would be a mistake.
The improved military situation has largely been the result of Iraqi revolt against takfiri jihadi oppression and the emergence of a coalition military leadership philosophy that welcomed that revolt and which provided fnancial, materiel and operational support to the rebels against Al-Qa'ida in Mesopotamia and its freinds. The urge to attribute the success in the last year and a half to the increased presence of American combat forces must be strong, but, in fact, that presence has been helpful but not decisive.
Many problems remain in Iraq. The central government remains the monstrous engine of ethno-religious factional politics that the Coalition Provisional Authority created. It is dominated by returned exiles and politicians who "played the game" with Saddam for their own benefit. Such men are not inclined to abnegation in the "national" interest. The Kurdish/Turkish conflict is reaching crisis proportion in the north and the swirling cockpit of Shia militia competition is now becoming more visible in the south.
These problems can only be resolved through the kind of determined diplomacy throughout the region that I have often advocated.
At present the US has accepted as temporary allies many of those who fought against us before the "Anbar Awakening." That is as it should be. We should continue that policy in other parts of the country.
What we should not think is that our former enemies have become reconciled to a permanent US military garrison in their country. To think that would be a terrible mistake.
If we want to have a reasonable relationship wth whatever Iraq there will be, then we should understand that the basis for resistance to us was rejection of the idea of foreign military occupation.
Bottom Line? Those who fight beside us now will fight us again if we decide to occupy their country permanantly. pl