March 11 (Reuters) - Following are a range of views on what Iraq could look like in the next five years.
JOOST HILTERMANN, DEPUTY PROGRAMME DIRECTOR AT INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP THINKTANK FOR MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA
"In the worst-case scenario, Iraq would slowly disintegrate into a failed state following a significant drawdown of U.S. troops and fall prey to the ambitions and fears of its neighbours.
"In the best-case scenario, a new U.S. administration would seek and reach some kind of accommodation with Iran, bringing regional tensions down a notch and removing or at least reducing Iran's spoiler role in Iraq. This would open the way toward an accommodation among Iraq's primary political actors. Elections would take place, but real democracy would remain a goal far over the horizon.
"The most likely scenario is one in between: No real accommodation with Iran, but a shared understanding between the U.S. and Iran of their common interests in Iraq; a significant drawdown of U.S. forces, but projection of sufficient military force to prevent the country's total disintegration; no accommodation at the top, but ongoing local conflicts."
STEPHEN BIDDLE, SENIOR FELLOW FOR DEFENCE POLICY AT THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS IN WASHINGTON
"Nothing about Iraq approaches certainty. And the policies of the next (U.S.) Administration are obviously very important.
"But I think there's a decent chance that we could get to something like stability in Iraq over your time frame. It would be a highly imperfect form of stability -- closer to Bosnia than Germany or Japan (after World War Two), with a very weak central government and a very decentralised security solution ... that depends on a continued presence by U.S. peacekeepers to prevent a resumption of violence. But this would be vastly preferable to an also-plausible alternative: a regionwide war if we withdraw too much too soon from an unstable Iraq."
ANTHONY CORDESMAN, IRAQ EXPERT WITH THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES THINK TANK IN WASHINGTON
"No one can predict where Iraq will be in five years' time and it is almost absurd to try. What one can predict is what it will take to create an Iraq with some degree of security and stability.
"The Iraqis must steadily move towards political accommodation, develop far more effective governance and security forces, use their oil export revenues in ways that serve all of Iraq's people, and use the security forces to bring security to all Iraqis without favouring one ethnicity or sect.
"The U.S. must shape its force reductions to conditions in Iraq, not rush them to suit some timetable dictated by U.S. domestic politics, and must continue to provide advisers and aid until Iraq is ready to stand on its own. All the other scenarios end in failure for Iraq, defeat for the U.S., and far more serious security problems throughout the Gulf."
ADNAN AL-DULAIMI, KEY FIGURE IN IRAQI ACCORDANCE FRONT, MAIN SUNNI POLITICAL BLOC IN PARLIAMENT
"Our view towards the future of Iraq is surrounded with pessimism, because the events which are happening now are a preface to what will happen in the future.
"Iraq's southern provinces are moving close to conflict over power and fortune. American forces will not withdraw from Iraq, and even if they did a long-term presence will be maintained. The influence of neighbouring countries will continue to grow."
MAHMOUD OTHMAN, KURDISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
"The future of Iraq depends on many elements, among them agreement among the political blocs and the role of neighbouring countries towards Iraq. I have hope that the coming years will be better than previous ones."
HAMEED AL-MUALLA, MP AND SENIOR MEMBER OF THE SUPREME ISLAMIC IRAQI COUNCIL, ONE OF THE BIGGEST SHI'ITE PARTIES IN PARLIAMENT
"The coming five years will witness the emergence of a new Iraq. With the recent passing of key laws by parliament, the clock has ticked, announcing a new start for a country that has suffered years of isolation and a series of setbacks."
"I believe that in five years Iraq will overcome all hurdles and take its role as an influential country."
NASSAR AL-RUBAIE, HEAD OF POLITICAL BLOC LOYAL TO SHI'ITE CLERIC MOQTADA AL-SADR
"America will practice a long-term policy aimed at undermining the government, the same policy adopted with Saddam's regime, and then the government will become a skeleton which will be recreated by U.S.-made flesh."
HASSAN AL-SHIMMARI, PARLIAMENTARY LEADER OF SHI'ITE FADHILA PARTY THAT CONTROLS SOUTHERN BASRA:
"The American-Iranian conflict will have a long-term influence on Iraq's future. If America decides to leave Iraq, Iranian influence will grow bigger and (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad has expressed Iran's readiness to fill the vacuum."
Compiled by Ahmed Rasheed, Wisam Mohammed and Ross Colvin in Baghdad; Editing by Samia Nakhoul
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