What are some of the first steps the new Iraqi government should be taking?
I think one of the first items on their agenda should be securing their borders from Syria and Iranian infiltration. The new government can also crack down on insurgents more harshly than the Coalition was able to, and they'll have more information at their disposal than we did. Hopefully they'll move quickly to take care of the military side of things.
More importantly even than the shooting and killing, however, will be the process of building up their image on the world stage. Iraq has several public relations tasks it needs to perform if it wants to be respected and taken seriously around the world. There are two directions they can take, either towards America or towards Europe, and I hope that they're willing to hew to our side of the fence now that they've already reaped the benefits.
First, Iraq should offer to compensate the families of the foreign soldiers who died for their liberation. They've got vast oil wealth to draw from, and there are only a few thousand Coalition deaths -- the families of the dead should each be paid at least US$1 million for their sacrifice. Iraq could afford more, but we should be mindful that they need money to rebuild their own country now, and much of that rebuilding effort should be done using American corporations. I don't think Iraq should be forced to repay the costs of the war, but they should certainly be eager to work within the market system to reward America and Americans for the sacrifice we've made.
Secondly, Iraq needs to issue strong denunciations of Europe and the useless UN, all of whom were struggling mightily to keep Iraq in her chains. The people of Iraq need to come together to make an undismissable show of thanks to America and a give public appreciation for what we've done. Not to make us feel good about ourselves, but to spit in the face of tyrants everywhere, and their appeasers. The world will ignore the thanks of the Iraqi government and deride it as a US "puppet", but the world cannot long ignore the Iraqi people themselves. I'm not exactly sure what form this statement of thanks should take, but I know the Iraqis can figure it out.
Thirdly, Iraq needs to pull itself out of the ridiculous Arab League. Every nation in the Arab League is ruled by a despot who dreads that the freedom that's most recently come to Iraq will spread throughout the rest of the Arab world, and Iraq should ensure that it does. Pulling out of the Arab League will demonstrate to the world that things are not the same as they were before, and that Iraq now stands head and shoulders above its neighbors. Iraq should be the founding member of the Democratic Arab Nations, and should vigorously invite its brothers into the fold.