Iraq and Afghanistan will not defeat their bloody insurgencies until they can fix their fractured government planning and start thinking long-term, the think tank Rand Corporation said in a report yesterday.
Seth Jones, a political scientist at Rand, pointed out that the homicide rate in Baghdad alone had increased by 35 percent over the past two years. The number of deaths in Iraq caused by insurgents had increased by 272 percent in two years.
In Afghanistan, the number of killings by insurgents had risen by 246 percent in three years, he said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government, Mr. Jones and other analysts said, was fighting a soaring drug trade and rebellious warlords across a large, difficult terrain, but had budgeted for only 50,000 police.
That number appeared to have been reached simply because it was a high “round number,” said Andrew Rathmell, director of defense and security at Rand.
Iraq’s politicians, battling a sophisticated and brutal insurgency while trying to rebuild water and electricity supplies, do not seem ready to look beyond short-term political goals, they said.
Winning in Iraq, said Mr. Rathmell, “depends increasingly on Iraqi politicians.” But, “institutional reform and long-term development is not their priority.”
In Afghanistan, added Jack Riley, an associate director at Rand, “policy planning is very fractured, and there is not a lot of analytical basis for planning.”
The United States must maintain a consistent commitment to both countries to prevent them from dissolving into near-anarchy, as happened in Haiti and Somalia, the analysts said.
They were speaking at the public release of Rand’s report on “Establishing Law and Order After Conflict” — on lessons learned on rebuilding internal security institutions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
The comprehensive study concludes there is a “golden hour” in the first few post-conflict weeks or months during which any security gap must be filled.
“That wasn’t done particularly well in the Iraqi or Afghanistan cases,” said Mr. Jones. “If you miss that golden hour, it makes it difficult to get back security.”
The report underlined six elements to best establish an effective security sector: better attention to planning post-conflict internal security; the negotiation of a peace treaty or formal surrender; filling the security gap as quickly as possible with U.S. and allied military and police forces; a cross-agency doctrine for post-conflict internal security; mechanisms to ensure faster mobilization of personnel, funds and equipment; and outcome- (not output-) based benchmarks to measure success.
As for the path forward in Iraq and Afghanistan, long-term involvement is the key, Mr. Rathmell said.
“We need to make a durable commitment to develop these institutions over several years, and we need the right resources, the appropriate amount of money, civilian experts and troops,” he said.
“I’m not convinced that either London or Washington understands the need for long-term, or medium-term commitment. All I have seen in terms of planning is the next year or two.”