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February 08, 2007


Fady Khairallah


I cannot help but comment on this. I think there are two explanations for the 'temporary' surge. One of them might be, as you say, hypocritical aimed at giving the administration an out: calm the situation enough to open a window for withdrawl.

However, there is another: Neutralize the extermist long enough for the Iraqi parlimant to reach those transitional goal.

Which side is the coin you choose depends on what you believe to be the intrinsic intentions of the iraqi government.

It seems that you've already decided what Mr. Al Maliki intends.



We punctured the prevailing equilibrium in Iraq creating the civil unrest that has killed over 100,000 excess Iraqis and wounded god-knows-how-many more.

If we leave and trigger a genocide, that additional blood--could it be over a million souls?--would be on our hands.

We have incurred a duty to rescue on account of the fact that we put them in this position.

We should facilitate the separation of the three ethnic groups by protecting the route that the refugees will need to travel. It will be a trail of tears but it is the best of our bad options.



Hopelessly naive or unspeakably hypocritical? How about unspeakably stupid and mindlessly self-serving?

Like most of my fellow citizens, I am sick and tired of our government's (both the White House AND Congress) mindless, unimaginative and endless approach to the quagmire in Iraq! Having gone in and destroyed the Iraqi government and infrastructure, we owed the Iraqis an opportunity to start anew for the betterment of all. We won the war and then made serious mistakes establishing the peace. Too bad, but nobody is perfect. This simply made it incumbent on us to give Iraq our best shot at setting things right and then to at least go the extra mile. 

Well, we have tried harder and still all the Sunnis and Shiites seem to want to do is slaughter each other and anybody who wears an American uniform! As Loraine Ali pointed out in the 19 March 2007 issue of Newsweek, about our most significant accomplishment appears to have been  to destroy the moderate, secular, progressive Iraqi middle class. The only real success story we have to show for our efforts is Kurdish Iraq! The US has given enough! It is time to either get out of Iraq or to take the psychological initiative! 

President Bush seems to have gotten his ego entangled in Iraq and a rather unimaginative ego it is at that! Why are we seemingly locked into the status quo effectively created by L. Paul Bremer? At most, we hear whispers about a federal Iraq and not even that much about the possible partitioning of Iraq! It ought to be obvious to anyone who is not brain-dead that the status quo is not a winning option. All that the US can do with the status quo is try to control how much of our shirt we will lose. 

The US has lost the initiative and needs to regain it in order to have even the slightest chance of snatching some form of victory out of the jaws of defeat. More troops, more bullets and more bombs constitute no more than a larger defensive measure which will be perceived by the Iraqi man-on-the-street as merely a larger, more trigger-happy occupation force. It does NOT regain us the initiative! 

Under the current mind-set (both US and Iraqi), unless a miracle occurs, Iraq will tear itself apart either while we are there or immediately after we have left. Let us use this to our advantage! Let us regain the initiative by officially recognizing that Iraq is tearing itself apart and by stating that we are not prepared to spend the money and blood that putting Humpty Dumpty back together again will require. We need to make it clear that unless the current Iraqi government can make the political deals needed to subdue the sectarian violence and eject the foreign insurgents (ideally by October and at worse by the end of 2007) the US will withdraw unilaterally. 

If the Iraqi government is unable to accomplish this we should give them an option that will allow them a fighting chance to end the bloodshed. The option would be that the US would support a plebiscite that will establish three new nations, Kurdish, Sunni and Shia respectively. The provinces comprising each new nation would be determined by whichever of the three options received a plurality of votes in each province.  

For its part, the US would then guarantee the borders of all three nations for as long as each nation is willing to accept US troops on their soil and to help support the expense of maintaining those troops. The reimbursement would be based on some sort of sliding scale related to the level of economic prosperity achieved by each of the new nations.  

By this one shift of policy, the US would have put the Iraqi government on notice that they must get serious about creating a workable government or they can look forward to the US leaving in less than a year and leaving them to the gentle ministrations of their frustrated and angry citizens. This should focus the minds of all but the most megalomaniacal of the ministers and government bureaucrats. 

If, as is most likely, the Iraqi government is too far gone to achieve any form of unity and effective authority over the country, but is smart enough to see the advantages in partition, it puts the US in a very strong position. Every other country in the region as well as the sectarian insurgents would have lost the psychological initiative. 

With partition, we would probably see a surge of immigration something on the order of what happened when British India was partitioned, but not on the same scale and hopefully, while under the purview of the current complement of US troops, not as violent. 

Turkey, while alarmed and angered at the creation of a Kurdish state that might renew the nationalistic aspirations of its own Kurdish population, would be constrained by its desire to join the European Union and could probably be persuaded to open cordial relations with what is starting to look like what could be the biggest economic success story in the Middle East. 

The Iranians would be troubled by the new Kurdish state due to their own Kurdish population and would probably be excited by the possibility of union with the new Shia state. So long as the US guarantees the sovereignty of the Kurdish state, the Iranians are likely to tread lightly on the interests of their Kurdish minority so as not to encourage any worse forms of secessional guerilla warfare. The new Shia state would be likely to play the Iranians for whatever aid and comfort they could extract, but being Arabs would probably be leery of becoming a minority within a Persian state. 

The Sunni state would most likely remain independent due to residual Iraqi pride and due to what would probably be positively Machiavellian gyrations by Jordan and Syria to ensure that the other did not manage to achieve union with the new Sunni state. This unsettled situation would probably be encouraged by the diplomatic efforts of both Turkey and Saudi Arabia. 

All in all, this is not a perfect solution, and it is one fraught with risks, but it is one that promises to be far, far more peaceful with far fewer risks, and many more potential advantages, to the US than what the present path in Iraq offers. 

prada schoenen

I agree, those are interesting points. This task is meant to help Afghanistan repress the worrisome, if predictable, expansion of its opium economy, it will greatly hamper

NATO's effectiveness.THx,

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