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The Inevitable Civil War in Iraq

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Engram is an enterprising new right-wing blogger who echoes many of the stock arguments used by the right to keep American troops fighting and dying in Iraq's civil war:

The "civil war" was not the spontaneous result of centuries of enmity between Sunnis and Shiites. Instead, it was deliberately engineered by al Qaeda, and they did it precisely because the spontaneous fighting was occurring at too low a level to stop democratic progress in Iraq.

This is the key talking point that has filtered through from the White House into talk radio and the right-wing blogosphere. The idea is to mention the words "Al Qaeda" as often as you can while rarely mentioning the word "insurgent" and dismissing the idea that Iraq is embroiled in a civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites.

To illustrate the absurdity of this stance, I want you to imagine for a moment that instead of invading Iraq in 2003, George W Bush talked to God and got him to agree to send a meteor crashing into Saddam Hussein's palace during a meeting with all the top Baathists of Iraq. Everyone gets killed, including Saddam, his sons, the entire deck of cards, and all of their sons.

In addition, George Bush asks God if he can arrange it so that the payroll lists for the entire Iraqi army and police are lost and they all walk off the job vowing never to return to a job that doesn't pay. As a kicker, GW asks God to ensure that all of the top officials in the Iraqi government receive pink slips informing them they have been terminated and can never work for the Iraqi government again for the rest of their lives.

Given this scenario, what do you think happens next? Do the 500,000 people who've just been thrown out of work into an economy devastated by 20 years of unremitting warfare and suffering from massive underemployment easily find new jobs? Do the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites sit down and draft a new constitution that protects the rights of minorities and establishes the rule of law in a country that has never had any laws? Do they all sit around the campfire, link arms and begin singing Kumbaya?

Hell no. They go to war. There's no doubt in my mind that if, at any time, you swept away the power structures of Saddam Hussein's regime the result would be chaos and conflict. There's been too much bad blood between the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds over the years and especially during Saddam when the Sunnis conducted genocidal massacres against the other two groups. The Kurds will fight for their long-sought independence, the Sunnis will fight to get back into power, and the Shiites will fight to hold power and exact hideous revenge on the Sunnis that they have been contemplating for decades.

You can no more put Iraq back together at this point than you could have forced the Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, and Kosovars back into a united Yugoslavia at gunpoint. The breakup of countries that are not cohesive in terms of ethnicity and religion is absolutely guaranteed after the overthrow of an autocratic dictatorship and in the complete absence of democratic, pluralistic traditions. We've seen this pattern repeated over and over again in history. The breakup of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union are just the two most recent examples.

I maintain that there is absolutely NO WAY to avoid the course of events in Iraq that lie ahead. No number of dead American troops can divert the country from the path of dissolution and breakup that will be bloody and difficult but by no means is guaranteed to be genocidal. Iraq will never become a united, democratic, pluralistic society where Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds live together in peace. If you feel otherwise, I'd like you to show me the evidence.


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Rating: 2.7/5 (7 votes cast)


Comments (9)

kim:

You are so last month.
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Iraq will never become a united, democratic, pluralistic society where Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds live together in peace. If you feel otherwise, I'd like you to show me the evidence.

Nothing is impossible. If peace can come to Northern Ireland than it can come to Iraq too. It is highly unlikely that the Bush admin has the ability to stop the civil war in Iraq, but it may be a possibility for the next President. As a result, we should give the next President a shot at it. If we up and leave things are going to get a lot worse. We owe it to the Iraqis to fix the problems we foisted upon them.

Paul Hamilton:

Neponset, things will absolutely get worse before they get better. That is inevitable. All evidence shows that the Iraq which existed before our invasion is no longer an option and any time a nation breaks up, violence will be the result.

The question becomes whether or not it's worth it for possibly thousands more Americans to die in an effort to stop the unstoppable. I would say that it is not. Humpty Dumpty is broken and it's up to the people of the region to establish a new political equilibrium. There has never been a situation in history where an outside force altered the outcome of a civil war and there is no indication this will be any different. We might end up choosing to support one side or the other, but we won't really change anything.

Larkin, I agree that the idea of "let's you and him fight," which is what the administration is charging al Qaeda with doing makes little sense. Neither side likes al Qaeda, and both sides have targeted them, just as they've targeted us. This is a war they want to settle among themselves for their own benefit, not to be the proxy of anybody.

Possibly, but this will allow the natural course of events to take place.

The natural course of events could lead to a regional war involving Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Kurdistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc. A power vacuum in the middle east won't end well for any one.

I appreciate your India analogy but India/Pakistan didn't and don't feed the world's energy demands. The fact that the middle east supplies 1/3 of the world's oil is a fact that has to be considered before our country decides to leave Iraq.

civil behavior:

It's all about the oil now isn't it. No matter how anyone wants to position the politics of it, it's all about the oil. Always has been, always will be.

Sad part is the only people who can do anything about it are unwilling to sacrifice a thing. That pimped lifestlye of ours is just too good to let go. Most people realize the sacrifice that NEEDS to be made. They are simply unwilling to do it.

I'm not saying this is going to be easy, just that it's inevitable. We can delay it temporarily but that's about all.

As I said before Bush is incapable of fixing the problem, but there is a slim chance that the next President can fix it. I say we give him/her a shot at it before we walk away.

Also, if we leave there is little to stop Iran and Turkey from sending troops into Iraq in order to "secure" their borders. I don't think Bush is cabaple of stopping that from happening using diplomacy.

It's all about the oil now isn't it. No matter how anyone wants to position the politics of it, it's all about the oil. Always has been, always will be.

It was always about the oil, not exclusively but it is a HUGE factor. I am not proud of it, but if this were Guatemala we were discussing instead of Iraq the US would have walked away a long time ago. Think Somalia and Darfur if you don't believe me.

mullah cimoc:

mullah cimoc say

usa control media so sophisticate make all ameriki brain for not remember lies for start him iraq invasion.

this word "neocon" not allow say in usa media. this word now CENSORED. if ameriki say this word usa control media accuse this man of the anti semite for use this word.

but in true him neocon most him the israeli citizen or him wife israeli citizen. who am mr. william kristol. am he neocon? mr. david wurmser, mr. dov zakheim??

mullah cimoc call this war
"rose petal war". But these rose petals blowing up every day.

Ameriki need for understand him country control by masters in tel aviv. usa not free now just slave and control mind television.

google: mighty wurlitzer +cia for historical of the understand.

Cincinnatus:

"Do the 500,000 people who've just been thrown out of work into an economy devastated by 20 years of unremitting warfare and suffering from massive underemployment easily find new jobs? Do the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites sit down and draft a new constitution that protects the rights of minorities and establishes the rule of law in a country that has never had any laws?"

Given the series of elections and a written constitution(things that have been anticipated to "go wrong' with a creepy anxiousness), an economy that has doubled since 2003, I might argue that these two things have happened already. They have a chance at a better life then what's been happening for the past 40 years. I don't think they will suffer forever.

kim:

The glass is 3/4 full and they persist in seeing it 1/4 empty, C.
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