Military victory is no longer possible in Iraq, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in a television interview on Nov. 19.
Mr. Kissinger presented a bleak vision of Iraq, saying the U.S. government must enter into dialogue with Iraq’s regional neighbors — including Iran — if progress is to be made in the region.
“If you mean by ‘military victory’ an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don’t believe that is possible,” he told the British Broadcasting Corp.
But Mr. Kissinger, who has advised President Bush about Iraq, warned against a rapid withdrawal of coalition troops, saying it could destabilize Iraq’s neighbors and cause a long-lasting conflict, the Associated Press reports.
“A dramatic collapse of Iraq — whatever we think about how the situation was created — would have disastrous consequences for which we would pay for many years, and which would bring us back, one way or another, into the region,” he said.
Mr. Kissinger, whose views have been sought by the Iraqi Study Group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, called for aninternationalconferencebringing togetherthepermanentmembersof the U.N. Security Council, Iraq’s neighborsandregionalpowerssuch as India and Pakistan to work out a way forward for the region.
“I think we have to redefine the course, but I don’t think that the alternative is between military vic- tory, as defined previously, or total withdrawal,” he said.