What will happen if the MNF are withdrawn prematurely before the job is done?
Perhaps the lesson from the recent troubles in Amara when militias took over large parts of the city gives a clear answer and offers Iraqis and the allies a forecast of what the future holds for us should we make the wrong decisions.
I think the decision to announce a phased withdrawal of troops (which is now dubbed as a phased handover of security responsibility) was made without putting in consideration the developments on the ground. And I think pressures on the American and British governments accelerated the process in a reactionary protective manner rather than a rational pragmatic one.
I suspect the allies and the Iraqi government were fully aware of that time bomb called militias but they turned their backs on this fact and acted as if the mission is moving forward smoothly without any disruptions.
It is easy to do it on paper…It takes no more than a small celebratory ceremony…lower this flag, fly the other one and invite officials, generals and journalists to publicize the meaningless event.
But at the same time the other camp represented by the militias was watching cheerfully and celebrating their riddance of an obstacle that was preventing them from taking over cities like Amara.
What happened in Amara for example was not unexpected and it should be a lesson for those who keep saying that the problem is in the "occupation" and that when foreign presence ends the country would live in peace and stability.
But what took place on the ground reveals and confirms once again who is really responsible for disrupting peace and creating chaos.
And it's also a warning signal to the leaders of the coaltion of what might happen if troops are withdrawn before the job is done or if the job is done incorrectly.
There would be utter mess and death and all the blood and treasure that were spent would be wasted. Even worse, the world will have to face a new additional body of extremism and Iraq will be a threat to stability instead of an example of democracy and liberty.
If that is allowed to happen the world will have yet bigger challenges to face and confronting those threats then will be much more difficult and costly than trying to win the war we had already gone a long way in.
These shortcomings and setbacks occurred because the responsible parties have not dealing efficiently enough with the situation and are allowing political pressure to force them to look for quick exits which are often entrances to deeper and worse problems.
Time is certainly a critical factor in this war and a quick response to stop the deterioration is needed here. I mean I want this war to end as soon as possible and I wish we can get the Iraqi troops to handle the security responsibilities in 6 months instead of 12 or 18 but we must be logical with our plans and expectations.
And we must not allow the virtual lines of time guide our decisions or force us to make steps that damage our interests.
What we need our leaders to do now is to agree on plans and measures and work together to achieve our mutual goals but the reason why I'm worried is that I see that the American government and our PM Maliki still need to work around some of their obvious differences.
Action must be based upon a clear, well studied strategy combined with determination to acknowledge and correct mistakes rather than running away from them or just whining about them which seems to be the strategy of many these days.