March 19, 2006


Divided, Iraq might just have a chance (Gareth Stansfield, 19/03/2006, Daily Telegraph)

[F]uture historians may also consider that the terrible situation of Iraq in 2006 had deeper origins. The trauma inflicted upon Iraqi society by a decade of sanctions following a decade of war with Iran; the existence of an all-pervasive totalitarian state that broke social bonds and played upon differences in society to preserve the regime; the continued Kurdish rebellion against the Iraqi state, resulting in the emergence of a Kurdish de facto state in the north; and the rise in political Shi'ism in the 1990s were all in place long before George W Bush's attention was brought so forcibly to Iraq in the days following September 11. [...]

Although politicians and academics are arguing about whether there is already a civil war raging in Iraq, the fact is, violence remains localised and there still exists a great deal of sentiment and hope among ordinary Iraqis - as expressed by political, religious and social leaders - that calmer heads will still prevail in these difficult times. However, with scores of bodies being found almost every day, it seems their voices are being increasingly ignored. If it is not yet a civil war, it is not far off being one.

What now needs to be addressed is what to do if the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate. Does the Coalition sit back and watch what would be a chaotic unravelling of Iraq, with militias acting to defend their own communities and attack others (as is increasingly happening), and with the once cosmopolitan cities of Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk and Basra exposed to the horrors of sectarian blood-letting?

Or should the Coalition, perhaps, be proactive in enforcing a managed partition of Iraq, decentralising political authority to the Shia in the south, the Kurds in the north, and the Sunnis in the centre? The fact is, this has already happened to a great extent, with the Kurdistan Region now codified, and Basra effectively out of the political orbit of Baghdad.

Though perhaps not the most desirable conclusion, a tripartite division was always the most likely. The biggest problem is that it's unlikely the Sunni would/could control a central state.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 19, 2006 2:26 PM

what are the chances that attempts to partition the country are what will cause a civil war. if only i could think of a historical precedent.

Posted by: tow at March 19, 2006 4:43 PM

There is no country. Remove a dictatorship and all such aglomerations devolve into their constituent parts.

Posted by: oj at March 19, 2006 4:48 PM

just like here, in 1776

Posted by: tow at March 19, 2006 5:28 PM

Without the dictatorship or ethnic religious differences.

Posted by: oj at March 19, 2006 5:48 PM

Give them a chance to succeed for goodness sake.

Posted by: erp at March 19, 2006 6:58 PM

When the Sunni realize that it is clearly in their best interests to kill all terrorists, they will do it. Until then, they will be targets themselves. Any 'escalations' against the Shi'a and/or the Kurds is just suicidal. Maybe they don't know it yet, but they will find out.

Posted by: ratbert at March 19, 2006 7:32 PM

When will "W" go to Iraq, address their parliament and say, "now is the time for you to take charge of your own nation. We've come, not as conquerors, but as liberators. You are liberated! We pledge to you our support and offer you manpower and financial assistance. Our military, however, will soon be leaving your soil."

Posted by: Dave W at March 20, 2006 10:36 AM

Perhaps in October Dave.

Posted by: Genecis at March 20, 2006 3:09 PM

October surprise?

Posted by: erp at March 20, 2006 8:02 PM