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View Diary: The Iraq Election: Defining Success (489 comments)

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  •  It's a triumph (4.00)
    of the fine art of defining down success. But I'm glad that hundreds of Iraqis didn't get killed today, as I really thought they might.

    As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

    by sidnora on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:25:53 AM PST

    •  True (4.00)
      "But I'm glad that hundreds of Iraqis didn't get killed today...

      This is a good thing.  The problem is, the election doesn't do one iota to ensure that they are not killed tomorrow.  Or the day after.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that. etc. etc.

      "... the Republicans have fucked reality so hard they need a physics professor to straighten them out." -- hamletta

      by manyoso on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:29:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (none)
        I feel for the Iraqis, but this is simply unfair to our soldiers.  If nothing else, we should just give the Iraqi's three seperate states.  It might not be pretty, but it lets the troops come home.

        To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

        by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:38:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely correct (4.00)
          I've been a proponent of a multi-state plan ever since the US began its occupation and pretense toward moving Iraq to "democracy."  It seems sheer lunacy not to give regional powers to each of the populations who are asking for them -- and fighting for them.

          "The insurgency" isn't one big coalition trying to get the US out of Iraq; it comprises myriad groups fighting for regional authority as well as some foreigners coming in to fight the Great Satan.  So much strife could have been avoided if the White House understood the sociopolitical dynamics in place in Iraq.

          But on the other hand, I think the US chose a "one Iraqi state" system deliberately to maintain a state of chaos in the country.  I know, it's cynical, but my cynicism has had a pretty good workout in the past four years.

          •  I agree (none)
            The multistate solution was definitely doable.  The only reason it didn't happan was because it didn't fit into the neoconservative grand strategy for transforming the Middle East.

            To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

            by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:58:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Uh (3.66)
              What about Turkey? They never seemed very comfortable with a new Kurdistan right next to the portion of Turkey with a large Kurdish population/problem. I am no fan of the Bushists, but to claim that the three state solution didn't fit into the Neo-con thought process as the ONLY reason for the lack of action is, in my opinion, not correct or fair.

              Don't blame me....I voted for Kodos! Neo-Cons don't die....they just go to the private sector to regroup

              by coheninjapan on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:16:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Disagree (none)
                The turkey thing has always been way overblown.  If they'd wanted to make it happen they could have.  I could think of plenty of scenarios where it could work.  In view of the current situation, do you really think it wouldn't be better.

                To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:19:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  In the first place (4.00)
                  Who are we to decide what the country should look like. In the second place Turkey will not allow an independent kurdistan because they fear an uprising among the Kurds in Turkey. In the third place the largest oil fields are in Kurdistan. Allowing Kurdistan to become an independent entity would deprive the rest of Iraq of a major source of income, which they desperately need at this time.    

                  You know you're in trouble, when you've got to ask Dick Cheney to "cheer up" the voters.

                  by amsterdam on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:26:09 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We are going to decide the future of Iraq (none)
                    one way or another.  Period.  We could leave a small force in Kurdistan to guarantee the peace--"peacekeepers"?  Then, for the most part, everyone else goes home.  In a few years, after Turkey accepts how things are, we take them home too.  The multistate solution is doable with a little thought and definitely preferrable to the current situation.  Just have to think instead of swallowing everything you read in the IR columns.

                    To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                    by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:30:17 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Turkey is a nato partner (none)
                      And I don't believe the current adminstration has the diplomatic skills to pull it off.

                      The Turks have been prety good at fighting of US bulying. This is a very sensitive isue with Turkey.      

                      And what will happen to shi's? they probably will realign themselves with Iran. I don't think that is the solution this adminstration is looking for.    

                      You know you're in trouble, when you've got to ask Dick Cheney to "cheer up" the voters.

                      by amsterdam on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:09:19 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  It (4.00)
                  is not overblown, and it is a HUGE issue in that region.

                  Turkey does not want a Kurdish state, and no, it wouldn't be better.

                  The Kurds are the largest minority in the world that does NOT have their own country, and they have populations in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and other neighboring areas.  

                  None of the existing countries in that area want to see a Kurdish state created, and creating one will cause futher political turmoil in what is increasingly becoming an unstable region.

                  Read up on the history of the Kurds and Turkey, this issue is not way overblown.

                  "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

                  by SanJoseLady on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:57:23 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We have to do something different (none)
                    This is the best choice available.  We could make it work.  If we established a relatively small US presence in Kurdistan and guaranteed the stability of the situation, we would still be involved, yes, but not to the extent we are now.  We could pull out most of our forces--which is the most important thing to me, personally.  I think it could be done--and it would be a lot better than the situation we're in now.

                    To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                    by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:23:08 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That (none)
                      is exactly how we got into this Iraq mess, determining that "we" know what is best for everyone involved.

                      Do I personally think the Kurds should have their own country? Yes.  Do I think it will ever happen?  No.

                      What would be "best" is for Iraq to become a nation that is truely ONE nation (though I don't see that happening either), instead of the three it really is right now.

                      We would end up being far more "involved" than you realize, as it is not just about the Kurds and Turkey, it would involve the whole region.  You think things are bad now?  Create an independent Kurdish nation and all hell breaks loose.  

                      It wouldn't be better than now, it would be worse.  As has been stated:  the northern part of Iraq has oil, as does the south and NOT the middle.  If the kurds are allowed to create their own nation, the shiites will want to do so as well, in the south, which leaves the Sunnis in the middle with no natural resources to speak of, as well as being squeezed from both sides.  

                      Please read the history of the region and you will see that your "solution" just isn't what it appears.

                      "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

                      by SanJoseLady on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 01:44:36 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I'm well enough aware of the history of the region (none)
                        Are an expert on Turkish history?  Unless you have detailed knowledge of the situation, I just don't see your point unilateerally ruling out such an option.  From where I stand, it's common sense.  Either we act to get our boys out of there or we leave them there to die for the next 5-10 years.  Sorry, I'm not playing that game.  I was Marine squadleader. I know what these guys are feeling.  

                        To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                        by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 04:03:18 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No (none)
                          I am not an "expert" but have recently taken a class in Middle Eastern politics, as well as having read a number of books on the subject.

                          While your intent is to get our tropps out of the area, doing what you suggest would have the exact opposite effect.

                          Again, I ask you to read up on the area before you make assertions of "common sense."  

                          I may not have been a Marine sqaudleader, but I do know that doing what you propose is sure to leave our guys there to die for eternity.

                          Just, please, use some "common sense" and read about the history and current political situation of the Kurds.

                          No one is unilaterally ruling out the Kurds oneday having their own state, what is being ruled out is the United States creating that nation (Iraq was created by the British, and look what a great job they did.)

                          "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

                          by SanJoseLady on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 04:38:20 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  If no civil war leading to (none)
                    separate states, then you have the option/likely realy of bringing a Saddam style strongman back to power.  Maybe that is why the more knowledgable Bush I stayed away from toppling Saddam.

                    Hey, it is one or the other unless true divine intervention comes about, IMO

                    Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

                    by truthbetold on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:27:14 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Not that simple... (none)
              The "multistate solution" was just as bad as a unified Iraq. The Sunni part of Iraq happens to be the one without oil, for instance, and Turkey is HUGELY against an independent Kurdish state.

              Splitting Iraq would have required forcing the Shia and Kurdish states to give money to the Sunnis in return for their lack of oil, and some method of appeasing Turkey.

              The first might have been doable, but Turkey would have invaded the moment we left.

            •  So this situatin is better? (none)
              Are you kidding?  We could easily guarantee the Kurds safety by leaving a small force in Kurdistan.  Everyone else gets to come home.  As I've said above--its definitely doable and far preferrable to the current situation.  It just requires a little thought--something too many people don't do in international relations--especially the Bush adminstration.

              To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

              by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:26:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No. (none)
                  We could. But what would Turkey do? They wouldn't let us resupply our troops through Turkey, so are you up for constantly driving convoys through Shia and Sunni Iraq? Because I doubt they'd love us enough to secure the routes.

                  So that solution involves isolating American troops with no way to easily supply or extricate them. Lovely.

                •  I'm sure we could find a way to resupply the troop (none)
                  The point is which way is better.  IMHO, this is a better option.  Turkey will go along with it if we underwrite the security of the situation.  Something like--oh I don't know--Germany after World War II.  ITs better than having our troops in a war zone for the next 8 years, don't you think?

                  To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                  by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:40:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No.. (none)
                      No they won't. They're not worried about invasion from a Kurdish state. They're worried about their own Kurds revolting and joining with the new Kurdish state, effectively removing a big chunk of Turkey.

                      Turkey views a Kurdish state as -- in effect -- taking a significant chunk of Turkey with it.

                      And underwrite their security? How? Send our troops into the nastiness of a Turkey/Kurdish war? Fight Kurdish insurgents?

                      It's the same damn thing as staying.

                  •  Yuo dont understand the situation (none)
                    AT ALL.

                    A kurdish state would be THE most destabilizing thing in the region. WORSE than Israel.

                    Be CLEAR, turkey has a HUGE Kurd population, which would seek to immediately annex a huge part of turkey to join to become part of a new Kurdistan.

                    Since Turkey is close to being allowed into the EU, this kind of destabilizing event would prevent that, ensuring that Turkey would move mountains to prevent it.

                    furthermore, Iraq doesnt divide nicely into 3 seperate geographic areas AT ALL.

                    Kirkut, would he HIGHLY constests for its oils fields (and is going ot be) The baghdad area is a absolute mix of all three groups, and could not be divided.

                    A Sunni region would be left with no access to oil, little access to the coast, next to Iran (who are Shiite).

                    Even Liberal experts on the region, such as Jaun Cole thing the whole idea of annexation would be a disaster.

                    Anyone who suggests such an idea is either playing down the complexity and problems with it significantly, or is ignorant of the geopolitical situation.

                    I suggest before getting into a back and forth here, those who propose such a plan should go do some greater in depth reading.

                    I am a Reform Democrat

                    by Pounder on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:10:11 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This is assuming a lot of naunce on the part of (none)
                      the Bush administration, but here's the solution.  Work in concert with NATO and the EU and leave a force in Kurdistan to guarantee Turkey doesn't do that.  I have a very hard time imagining Turky attacking US forces.  

                      To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                      by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:28:36 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Turkey (none)
                        Turkey can stop it, because over a 1/3 of Turkey is Kurdish. That's the problem.

                        Its the annexation of TURKEY that's the problem, not Kurdistan. The US wouldnt be IN turkey, it would be civil war, potentially, political insecurity for sure, and terrorism ala basque sepratists.

                        It isnt Kurdistan that needs protecting, its turkey from itself.

                        Kurdistan would surely (i think) support the annexation (unless they could be persuaded not to somehow) that is how war between Turkey and the Kurds in Kurdistan would come about. Thats only the secondary consideration.

                        The US would then be right between 2 allies. Pick a side or leave em go at it ?

                        I am a Reform Democrat

                        by Pounder on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:37:52 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  We have to make a choice here (none)
                          We can do what we can--and there are a few things we can do--maintain as much stability as possible in the region.  But I don't think we should continue in the situation we're in.  I think we should take most of our troops home as soon as possible.  This is the best way to do it.  Iraq is virtually governmentless.  Turkey has a long established government and is far likelier to survive any any instability that should occur.  At a certain point we have to take care of our people.   I understand that point of cleaning up the mess we made, but these soldiers didn't make this choice.  They've been screwed and deserve to be sent home.  If we work with our allies and Turkey and the Kurd, I can imagine some solutions to the problems your talking about.  But this isn't working.  We need to do something new.  Its not a perfect option, but if we work hard enough, I think it can work.  It won't be perfect, but what is?

                          To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                          by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:46:50 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  what allies? (none)
                            You are talking about Europes back yard. At this point Europeans aren't realy that concernd about the safety of US soldiers. You chose to get into this mess. I doubt the european union will be
                            willing to help the US instead of supporting Turkey.    

                            You know you're in trouble, when you've got to ask Dick Cheney to "cheer up" the voters.

                            by amsterdam on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:58:06 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm not denying it would be tough with these (none)
                            guys in office.  A lot of this is wishful thinking of course, virually requiring a change of leadership.  But if it comes down leaving our guys in Iraq for another 4 years to die, I'd have to say let's try it for their sake.  If the Kurds pull out as the shia'hs and sunnis descend into choas, we'll be in the same boat anyway--only worse.

                            To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                            by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:33:00 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I understand that you want these soldiers out (none)
                            I just believe that any solution which can be interpreted by the Bush adminstration as a succes will only lead to more agression, and in the long run cause more deaths, including US military. I think Europe should start showing some backbone and stop assisting this administration in what it is doing to the Iraq's, Americans and the rest of the world.      

                            You know you're in trouble, when you've got to ask Dick Cheney to "cheer up" the voters.

                            by amsterdam on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:54:16 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My solution (none)
                            Have the newly elected Iraqi government negotiate wit hthe insurgent political leadership, to descale the violence in exchange ofr a greater seat at the national political table.

                            ie have the shiites give up some of that 60% majority to the sunnis, and also cede more autonomy to the Kurds.

                            that's the play I expect to be called in the coming weeks and months. it MIGHT work.

                            I am a Reform Democrat

                            by Pounder on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:03:43 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah, and while your at it (none)
                            how about talking Israel into negotiating with the Palestinians to descale the violence in exchange for a greater seat at the national political table? It is a lot easier for us to say such things here when we aren't involved in the situation.
                    •  Kurdistan (none)
                      There are other reasons why an independent Kurdish state would be problematic, namely Iran and Syria.  Bashir al-Asad has been busy repressing his own Kurds since the US invasion.  He has killed over 600 and imprisoned many hundreds more in the last two years. The Syrian Kurds would get help from an independent Kurdistan.  The situation is very similar in Iran but on a smaller scale.  We must also remember that Turkey and its Kurds have had a very fragile ceasefire since the mid ninties.  Before this the Kurdish language was completely banned in Turkey. Many young Kurds can't even speak it.  The very word "Kurd" was also banned.  The Kurds were officially referred to as people of the mountains. Most of their political leaders were imprisoned or killed by the state.(And remember the Turkish Army still has enormous influence and can threaten any turkish government.  These countries also fear the influence that Israel would have in Kurdistan  There are already  significant numbers of Israeli clandestine forces there.  They helped train the peshmerga and the security services. Syria and Iran would not tolerate a "fifth column" in their backyard. Meanwhile we must remember that the Kurds are no saints.  The two main political groups are similar to the corrupt warlords of Afghanistan.  Also it was the Kurdish troops of the Ottoman Empire (on orders from the Sultan and later the Young Turks) that carried out the two Armenian Genocides of the 1890s and 1915-17. Kurda were some of the most effective and ruthless troops during the Ottoman era. Many Arabs have good reason to fear the Kurdish fighters.
                •  That's why Syria is next... (none)
                  then we can drive our convots across it from the Mediterranean!  Or even Israel!

                  ...Ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul

                  by las casas on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:14:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  One Qualification (none)
              The traditionally Sunni portion doesn't have oil.  But with Saddam's forced relocation of peoples, Mosul--right on the dividing line of the traditional Sunni areas, and quite rich in oil--is now full of Sunni, Kurds and Turkomen.  That's a volitile stew for major violence should there be a forced or hasty attempt to split Iraq into three.  

              Mosul will be the Srebrinica or Vukovar or Mostar of civil war Iraq, but unlike those areas, it sits atop massive amounts of oil.  

              •  *snort* (none)
                   Mosul? Where the Iraqi civil war is in full swing? Where the Kurds are busy kicking the Shia and the Sunni out?

                  I suppose we could give them to the Sunni, but that'd just start the Civil War a bit quicker.

                  Easy solutions generally aren't easy or solutions.

                  And Iraq seems to be a place with no solutions.

                •  Huh? (none)
                  What's the snort for?  What in my comment did you disagree with?  And where did I profer any solution, much less an easy one?

                  Was that intended as a response to somebody else?

                  •  No.. (none)
                      Not aimed at you. Just at the situation. Giving Mosul to the Sunnis wouldn't work, because the Kurds are busy -- as the only ethnic group in Iraq we trust enough not to shoot if they're armed -- kicking the Sunni and the Shia out.

                      Fact of the matter is, our incompetence has pretty much precluded any options whatsover.

                      The Kurds won't allow -- and we can't force them, unless we want to face a Kurdish insurgency -- us to give the Sunni parts of their traditional territory. They fought Saddam tooth and nail over it, and he had a MUCH bigger army than we do.

                      The Sunni won't accept being turned into virtual beggars, and it's obvious we don't have the forces to deal with them either.

                      Turkey, of course, will not support ANY solution that results in an independent -- or even pseudo-independent -- Kurdish state, and we'd need them to supply any troops in that area of Iraq anyways.

                •  No one's saying its an easy solution (none)
                  just a better one. You prefer having 150,000 of our soldiers tied down in the middle of a mounting civil war.  Think outside the box.

                  To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                  by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:42:14 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah (none)
                      It's not a better one. It's just as bad, except for different reasons.

                      It'll just start the Civil War quicker, and ensure Turkey is involved too.

                      Thinking outside the box is all well and good, but you seem to think a "different solution" is obviously going to be "better".

                      This one won't be. It'd be worse, I think, because in addition to an unstable and violent Iraq, we'd drag Turkey into it as well. Better to withdraw entirely and let the Iraqis fight it out then force Turkey into civil war as well.

            •  The oil fields of Iraq (4.00)

              Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

              by Barbara Morrill on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:31:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I think that there is ONE problem... (none)
            ...with the multi state soulution.  How do you divide up the oil fields? Aren't they in the extreme North and South?  What happens to the Sunnis in the middle of Iraq?  That issue is enough to start civil war!

            Don't get me wrong.  I think Iraq is most naturally three nations, but one should be aware of the real cluster ---- fixing this mess will be.

        •  Except for one thing (4.00)
          No oil in the center of the country.  Would the Sunnis/Baathists, who've held sway for so long, who after all are the population opposing a peaceful state, accept that much smaller pie?

          That was the one huge, gaping hole in the calculations all along:  It was not just bad person Saddam and couple henchmen against the good people of Iraq.  That's a pretty large clique of people who fed at the trough, and used to resorting to violence to hold power.  That's why, two years later, it still ain't no cakewalk.

        •  Two words...Refugee Crisis... (4.00)
          There are Shia Arabs in predominantly Sunni Arab areas, many Sunni Arabs in predominantly Kurdish areas, and many other minorities in Kurdish areas.  Divide up the country, and you will have the worst refugee crisis since the India-Pakistan divide (Hindus in Muslim areas and vice versa).  Imagine you live in a Sunni village south of the border.  You and your family, no, your clan, your entire village, are going to have to pack up and move unless you want to be in a state dominated by those who do not have your best interests at heart.

          Two more words: economic resources.  There is little oil in the Sunni Arab-dominated Central Iraq.  We would be creating a new Syria, except weaker, smaller, and with even less purpose.  

          Although I must say I feel the Turkey-Kurd thing is overblown in this case.  Even the independent-minded Kurds are making it a point to say that they don't want any of Turkey's land or population.  And the Turks are trying to be on their best behavior until 2009 (when they start being "considered" for EU Membership, a process that will take even more time), and unless the Kurds start encouraging sepratist behavior, the Turks will probably leave an independent Kurdish state alone.

          (Insert Democrat Here) for President in 2008!

          by teenagedallasdeaniac on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:40:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But what if the only alternative... (none)
            is giving the state to one party that doesn't have the interests of the minority at heart?  Then, the minority doesn't have the option of moving to a more sympathetic region - they simply have to cope as best they can with the situation.  And given the political ideologies of many arabs, there is always a possibility of ethnic cleansing.  If the state were broken down along historic lines, there would be some disruption, but then the countries could settle down to hating each other without wiping out any ethnic groups.  
        •  Would never work (none)
          Under international law the US has no legal right to unilaterally divide Iraq into three states. The rest of the world would simply not accept it. It would not work. This idea is so DOA that it's astonishing that it has gotten as much ink as it has in the US.
        •  Very bad idea indeed (none)
          Juan Cole wrote a very convincing yet short piece on why partitioning Iraq is an extremely bad idea. I can't think of it going well at all.

          Downsides of Partitioning Iraq

          Some readers asked me why I was so against partitioning Iraq.

          It is because it would cause a great deal of trouble to us all, not least Iraqis. Iraq is not divided neatly into three ethnic enclaves. It is all mixed up. There are a million Kurds in Baghdad, a million Sunnis in the Shiite deep south, and lots of mixed provinces (Ta'mim, Ninevah, Diyalah, Babil, Baghdad, etc.). There is a lot of intermarriage among various Iraqi groups. Look at President Ghazi Yawir. He is from the Sunni Arab branch of the Shamar tribe. But some Shamar are Shiites. One of his wives is Nasrin Barwari, a Kurdish cabinet minister. What would partition do to the Yawirs?

          Then, how do you split up the resources? If the Sunni Arabs don't get Kirkuk, then they will be poorer than Jordan. Don't you think they will fight for it? The Kurds would fight to the last man for the oil-rich city of Kirkuk if it was a matter of determining in which country it ended up.

          If the Kurds got Kirkuk and the Sunni Arabs became a poor cousin to Jordan, the Sunni Arabs would almost certainly turn to al-Qaeda in large numbers. Some Iraqi guerrillas are already talking about hitting back at the US mainland. And, Fallujah is not that far from Saudi Arabia, which Bin Laden wants to hit, as well, especially at the oil. Fallujah Salafis would hook up with those in Jordan and Gaza to establish a radical Sunni arc that would destabilize the entire region.

          Divorced from the Sunnis, the Shiites of the south would no longer have any counterweight to religious currents like al-Dawa, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and the Sadrists. The rump Shiite state would be rich, with the Rumayla and other fields, and might well declare a Shiite Islamic republic. It is being coupled with the Sunnis that mainly keeps them from going down that road. A Shiite South Iraq might make a claim on Shiite Eastern Arabia in Saudi Arabia, or stir up trouble there. The Eastern Province can pump as much as 11% of the world's petroleum.

          So Americans would like this scenario why?

        •  First question (none)
          Where do you draw the borders ?

          Look at these two maps :

          First Iraq is not divided in three neatly delimited areas:

          http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/iraq_ethnoreligious_1992.jpg

          And the Kurdish issue does not involve only Turkey:

          http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/iraq_dissident_areas_1992.jpg

          Second question: Who decides ?

      •  I couldn't be more aware of that. <n/t> (none)

        As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

        by sidnora on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:51:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  EXCEED EXPECTATION!!! (none)
      WOW,

      Condi Rice does NOT dissappoint. SHe does her cheerleading supremo and lying to public on first week of her job!

      CONGRATULATION OBAMA and everybody who is voting for Condi. Here is your first LIE!!!

      and ..She is going to keep lying and misleading the public with more and more brazen made up facts...

      ---------------
      Rice Says Iraq Elections Exceeds Expectation

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48759-2005Jan30.html

      •  Right (none)
        The only way this would have exceed expectations is if the Sunnis turned out.  The fact that they didn't is a very bad sign.  Its a virtual guarantee that the insurgency is that future of Sunni participation.   Once again, I really think its time to start planning a multi-state solution.

        To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

        by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:17:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Almost nobody in Iraq wants a multistate solution (none)

          The Kurds don't want to be cut off from the customers of their oil, most of which is pumped through Shi'a or Sunni areas.  The Sunnis don't want to be isolated in a desert.  The Shi'a aren't that keen to expel the Sunnis, who dominate the professions.  
      •  Condi Ought To Read This (4.00)
        Condi ought to read this OpEd from the Int'l Herald Tribune to find out what a successful election requires, by a person who might know a thing or two about it:

        Iraq: This election is a sham
        by Salim Lone - an adviser to Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN envoy to post-invasion Iraq who was killed in 2003 in a bomb attack on the UN compound in Baghdad.

        GENEVA--Very early in the occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration recognized that a democratic Iraq, even a stridently anti-Saddam one, would not countenance the strategic U.S. goals the war was fought for: controlling the second-largest oil reserves in an energy-thirsty world, and establishing military bases required for undertaking the political transformation of the Middle East to serve American interests. A long-term occupation to secure these ambitious goals was no less tenable.

        So even as the Americans proclaimed their mission as one designed to introduce democracy and human rights in Iraq, they fought against demands for early elections even from putative allies like the Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. They also maneuvered to put into place a self-governance and electoral plan that, through carefully circumscribed United Nations involvement, they thought would ensure that the hand-picked Iraqi leadership would enjoy some legitimacy, with the elections scheduled for Sunday providing an added boost of Shiite support.

        But as this blood-stained election shows, the complete breakdown of this plan has been one of the most colossal U.S. policy failures of the last half-century. Indeed, this is not an election that any democratic nation, or indeed any independent international electoral organization, would recognize as legitimate. Continue

        Know all your enemies. We know who are enemies are. Stop Eminent Domain Abuse. End Corporate Welfare

        by BrooklynBoy on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:19:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Credit, where due (4.00)
      UN Election Expert Avoids Limelight of Iraq Poll
      Fri Jan 28, 7:13 AM ET

      http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=urn:newsml:reuters.com:200 50128:MTFH51929_2005-01-28_12-13-27_BAK440706:1

      BAGHDAD (Reuters) - If Iraq's election comes off on Sunday -- a big if -- it will be thanks in no small part to a savvy, softly spoken Colombian from Bogota.  Carlos Valenzuela, 47, has spent 13 years organizing elections in hotspots around the world for the United Nations ( news -web sites ). He has been helping to plan an election in a divided country, where up to 14 million people could vote in a day -- one of the biggest logistical challenges for Iraqi authorities since Saddam Hussein was overthrown in April 2003.

      And doing so before, during, and after many of his UN colleagues, including the beloved Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mellom were killed in the Baghdad bombing, in August, 2003. He is a hero.

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