I’m afraid I haven’t been doing a very good job of covering for Murdoc while he is on vacation, but I have enjoyed the discussions on the meagre posts I have managed so far. In this spirit of that, as well as the news of the day, I would like to hear what others are thinking about the plans for partitioning Iraq which have been floating around for a while now, but seem to be reaching critical mass. Please make sure to remember that these are my opinions, although Murdoc may want to chime in later with his own thoughts.
From everything I have read so far, it sounds like partition is going to cause worse problems than it solves (if any). Turkey has gone on record as saying that an independent Kurdistan would make them very unhappy, and they are not alone in that sentiment. While I like the Kurds, especially because of their spirit despite all they have been through, I’m not sure it makes any sense even from their perspective. The worries about the Shia-dominated areas teaming up with Iran need little elaboration. Finally, the Sunnis may just get what they’ve been asking for all along—their own private area of desert with little of value contained within it. Somehow I doubt that’s going to reduce the supply of ‘splodeydopes to the region.
A lot of support for the partioning seems to be coming from mass media/mass hysteria reports about the “growing violence” in Iraq. I suspect it’s more an artefact of US elections than any evidence from Iraq. The Brookings Institute Iraq Index, among other sources of data, does not seem to support such a conclusion very strongly, if at all. But since when have media reports required any kind of evidence? The evidence is somewhat open to interpretation, I would be happy to read comments discussing what the statistics reveal about the situation.
I’d also like to hear what readers think about the wisdom of the partition concept. I can’t pretend I’ve done a very deep analysis. However, in the interests of humanity, I think we should probably stick around for another year or so and give their government a chance at getting the idiots to stop killing each other. It’s also important to finish building the Iraqi armed forces and police numbers, to give them a fighting chance at stability. But ultimately, it will be up to the Iraqis themselves to stabilize their own country. I don’t think the source of the violence is so simple that redrawing the borders will prevent it, nor do I think it will go away if the coalition troops leave. What are your thoughts?
— Posted by Nicholas.
Update: An additional thought. Based upon the writings of some Iraqis, I suspect the Sunni/Shi’a/Kurd divide between Iraqis is exaggerated. One reason partition could be a bad idea is that it would be likely to widen the divide due to an “us vs. them” mentality. If it’s the hardliners who are responsible for the sectarian violence, surely the best plan is to find a way for them to form a common bond, rather than exaggerating their differences?