London, Dec 30, IRNA-Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said Friday that Washington not only needed to define its sense of future in Iraq but also had to broaden the base of political consultation in the region.
"The countries relevant to Iraq's security and stability, or which consider their security and stability affected by the emerging arrangements, must be given a sense of participation in the next stage of Iraq policy," Kissinger said.
In an article published in the Glasgow Herald, the 82 year old former Secretary of State suggested the need to build up a political contact group to include not only key European allies but only some of Iraq's Muslim neighbouring countries.
"The functions of the contact group would be to advise on the political evolution of Iraq, to broaden the basis of legitimacy of the government, and to reflect a broad international interest in the stability and progress of the region," he proposed.
His belief was that the group could become a forum to deal with other issues affecting Middle East stability, including what he described as "some of the root causes of Islamic radicalism".
"A political framework is not a substitute for a successful military outcome, but military success cannot be long sustained without it," warned Kissinger, who presided over the US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975.
His call came as both the US and UK are under pressure to set a timetable for the withdrawal of their troops from Iraq, which many critics believing that their presence was counterproductive in bringing peace and security to the country.
The former US Secretary of State, who also served as National Security Adviser, said that the issue was "not the mechanics of withdrawal." "Rather the debate should be over consequences - whether, in the end, withdrawal will be perceived as a forced retreat or as an aspect of a prudent and carefully planned move on behalf of international security," he said.
Kissinger said that whatever one's view of the decision to undertake the Iraq war, which he supported, "one must be clear about the consequences of failure".
"If, when we go, we leave nothing behind but a failed state and chaos, the consequences will be disastrous for the region and for America's position in the world," he said.
Defeat, the former Nobel Peace Prize winner warned, would "shrivel American credibility" around the world.
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