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 Instead of just one Iraq - Try three

 Source : The Berkshire Eagle
  Kurd Net is NOT responsible of the content of the article

 


Instead of just one Iraq - Try three  21.10.2004
The Berkshire Eagle

 


No less an authority on the breakup of failed states than Peter Galbraith, the former U.S. ambassador to Croatia, considers the possibility that Iraq will split up along ethnic and religious lines "more likely than a transition to a centralized democracy."

Religious and ethnic violence has been a fact of life in Mesopotamia for thousands of years; it has been suggested before that only a monster like Saddam Hussein could have hoped to rule it as one country.

(Mr. Galbraith, by the way, will speak Friday,7 : 30p.m., to the Windham World Affairs Council of Vermont in the Rotch Center located on the World Learning campus here in Brattleboro; his talk is entitled, "How to Get Out of Iraq.")

The United States, he writes in the New York Review of Books, "faces a near-impossible dilemma in Iraq." If it withdraws now, it will leave a weak central government incapable of controlling the chaos that provides such fertile ground for terrorists. But by staying, it undermines the legitimacy of that government.

A civil war may come whether American troops withdraw or not. The horrific torture-murder of five Shiite truck drivers in Fallujah this past June may prove the flash point for a confrontation between Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority and the Sunni minority. The descriptions of the pictures of their mutilated bodies make the snapshots from Abu Ghraib pale by comparison. They are making the rounds of Shiite mosques in southern Iraq, and so great is the anger in the Shia heartland that the American troops now besieging Fallujah may be the only thing that prevents the Mahdi Army from sacking it.

Meanwhile, the Kurds in the north, who already had a quasi-independent state under American protection, are disenchanted with the blunders of the occupation and annoyed that their leaders were frozen out of top spots in the new government. Their militia is the second most numerous, best trained and equipped fighting force in Iraq, and they are openly talking of secession and of refusing to let the new Iraqi army enter their territory. In the south, Shiite political parties and religious institutions form a defacto government, independent of Baghdad’s authority.

President Bush, before the invasion, promised to respect the territorial integrity of Iraq, which was formed by the British from the Ottoman provinces of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. Religious and ethnic violence has been a fact of life in Mesopotamia for thousands of years; it has been suggested before that only a monster like Saddam Hussein could have hoped to rule it as one country. Civil war would be intolerable -- it would benefit the terrorists, it would threaten the already precarious stability of world oil markets, and it would put American troops in an even more untenable position.

The Turks kept those provinces separate for a reason. A "loose federation," Mr. Galbraith suggests, would allow the people of Iraq to rule themselves, and take America off the hook. Perhaps a unified Iraq is a promise Mr. Bush, or Mr. Kerry should consider breaking. 

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