[Homestead] Iraq, too little, too late
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Mon Sep 6 18:29:28 EDT 2004
Kurds will not peacefully give up their Kirkuk oil, their 12-year
prosperous democracy. Hated Sunnis can never again rule Shiites, Shiites
are split between two major factions, one heavily supported by
Fundamentalist Iran government. And U.S Government forces were
inadequate from the beginning to the present, planning virtually
non-existent.. All that Bush can hope for is that his inactions don't
hit the fan before November.
posted September 6, 2004, updated 11:30 a.m.
Report: Civil war most likely outcome in Iraq
Major British institute says breakup of Iraq is a likely scenario.
by Tom Regan
While America's attention was focused last week on the Republican
National Convention in New York, and the world was watching the hostage
tragedy unfold in the small Russian town of Beslan, the prestigious
British Royal Institute of International Affairs (known as Chatham
House) issued a report saying a major civil war
that would destablize the entire Middle East region is the mostly likely
outcome for Iraq if current conditions continue. *Reuters* reported
Friday that the report said the best outcome Iraq can hope for is "to
muddle through an 18-month political transition that began when
Washington formally handed over sovereignty on June 28."
*The Los Angeles Times* reports that the fragmentation of Iraq is the
"default scenario" in the eyes of the Chatham House team.
'Under this scenario,' the report says, 'Kurdish separatism and Shia
assertiveness work against a smooth transition to elections, while
the Sunni Arab minority remains on the offensive and engaged in
resistance. Antipathy to the US presence grows, not so much in a
unified Iraqi nationalist backlash, but rather in a fragmented
manner that could presage civil war if the US cuts and runs,' it
says. 'Even if the US forces try to hold out and prop up the central
authority, it may still lose control.'
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The Chatham House report, called 'Iraq in Transition: Vortex or
was released last Wednesday. (Chatham House is often the scene of
regular international news events; British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
recently gave a major speech there in August where he called for the
overhaul of the United Nations
The organization's Middle East team came up with three possible
scenarios for Iraq, two of which would create real problems
for the US and its allies:
# If the Shiite, Sunni, and Kurd factions fail to adhere to the Iraqi
Interim Government (IIG), Iraq could fragment or descend into civil war.
# If the transitional government, backed up by a supportive US
presence, can assert control, Iraq may well hold together.
# A 'Regional Remake' could overtake the other two scenarios if the
dynamics unleashed by Shiite and Kurdish assertiveness trigger
repercussions in neighboring states. Other Kurds would want their
own independence, and Shiites in other countries would be more
"The first scenario is the most likely," says the report.
Shiite Arabs will not settle for a subservient position, Kurds will
not relinquish the gains in internal self-government and policing
during the 1990s and Sunnis will neither accept a Shiite-led central
government, nor a Kurdish autonomy in the north. If the IIG or its
successors fail to assert itself as an organization capable of
appealing across Iraq’s societal cleavages, Iraq will fragment.
In an article in the *New York Review of Books*, former US ambassador to
Croatia, UN official in East Timor, and current senior diplomatic fellow
at the Center for Arms Control and Non- Proliferation Peter Galbraith
writes that "It is a measure of how far America's once grand ambitions
for Iraq have diminished that security has become more important than
democracy for a mission intended not only to transform Iraq but with it
the entire Middle East." Mr. Galbraith, who recently returned from his
second long trip to Iraq, agrees with the Chatham House worst-case
scenario and also says it is the most likely outcome. He writes that
Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is a troubling choice
<http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17406> to create the political
stability that the US and its allies so desperately need to keep Iraq
from falling apart.
Allawi's colleagues speak of him with evident affection, but even
his allies point to his shortcomings. Several of the INA's [Iraqi
National Accord, which Allawi founded] most respected leaders left
the organization because they objected to Allawi's authoritarian
style, including an unwillingness to heed advice and inability to
delegate authority. As an anti-Saddam activist, fellow exiles
described Allawi as routinely embellishing his credentials. He would
claim to have had meetings with world leaders that turned out to be
fictional, and has said that he controlled operatives inside Iraq
who, in fact, never existed.
But in an interview with the *Nashville Tennessean* on Sunday, Gen.
Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said
that the recent 'successful' resolution of the siege of Najaf is a
of things to come.
I think what we saw in Najaf was actually very good from the
viewpoint of Iraqis handling their problem. The solution there was
the prime minister and his cabinet working with (Grand Ayatollah Ali
al-Husseini al) Sistani, the cleric, and private leaders and
government leaders working in partnership with the multinational
forces coalition there and finding the solutions — which they found
and which hopefully will last. Although the fellow (rebel Shiite
cleric Muqtada al) Sadr is not particularly reliable. He changes his
mind frequently, but for now Iraqis are in charge.
An editorial in the *Jerusalem Post* last Thursday argues that what
happened in Najaf was actually the "best that could be made of a bad
job." It said if the US and the interim government had rolled over
Moqtada al-Sadr and his forces, they would only have reinforced in the
minds of Iraqis the lesson that they have been learning again and again
since 1958: "he who is capable of killing the most, wins a political
battle." But the intervention of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani may have
changed the equation
very much for the better.
Sistani's intervention, however, changed the nature of the game. By
deploying what could only be described as "people's power," the
grand ayatollah succeeded in discrediting the tradition of political
violence established by the 1958 coup d'etat. He showed that one can
win a political battle without having to kill large numbers of
people. The whole episode could be seen as a lesson to Iraqis that
politics need not be a win-lose, let alone a zero-sum, game.
Finally, freelance writer Yusuf Al-Khabbaz, writing in *Media Monitor
Networks*, looks at the occupation and rebuilding of Japan 60 years ago,
and the current day occupation and attempted rebuilding of Iraq, and
finds the two events have little in common
<http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/9342/>, despite what
politicians may claim. (For instance, he says, Japanese offered little
or no resistance to American soldiers, and "by most accounts not a
single one of the 150,000 American soldiers in the occupying forces was
attacked and killed by Japanese citizens.") If Iraq is to be rebuilt,
Mr. Al Khabbaz says, the successful rebuilding of Japan cannot serve as
a model because of significant differences in the two occupations.
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