NIE NOT NEW
The much disputed Iraq NIE key judgments summary was released in an unclassified PDF version
with a description of changes in analytical methodology. These were mildly interesting to me but any intel wonk types hoping for the addition of bold, untried, new analytical techniques are going to be disappointed. What was added should help enhance clarity for non-professional readers and make any artificial, imposed, analytical consensus look more...well...marginally artificial and imposed.
As for substance, the document is remarkable for its lack of surprises
. There are complaints that the NIE has not taken into account the results of a successful surge campaign on Iraq. That is true, but the surge is a tactical manuver by the U.S. military that will not change the underlying strategic dynamic among Iraqi factions. It would simply create a zone of decreased conflict level and a breathing space for a negotiation of a political solution, it is not a political solution in itself. Someone actualy has to take advantage of what a successful surge provides.
The realism about the limits of regional actors (Iran, Syria, Turkey, KSA) to influence various Iraqi factions is worth highlighting as diplomacy, while useful, is not going to be a silver bullet, even if you assume the good faith of all interested parties. In my view, these states can offer real assistance (if they were inclined ) to the U.S. in containing Iraq's problems from spreading, but that's about the best that could be expected of them as it hinges on their own self-interest.NIE LINKS:Haft of the Spear
Labels: analytic, intelligence, iraq, mideast, nie