Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Iraq Deconstruction Project

Kurdish leader threatens Iraq secession
Associated Press Writer
Sun Sep 3, 2006

The leader of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq threatened secession Sunday as a dispute over flying the Iraqi flag intensified.

Massoud Barzani on Friday ordered the country's national flag to be replaced with the Kurdish one, sparking harsh words in Baghdad.

"If we want to separate, we will do it, without hesitation or fears," Barzani, president of the Kurdish region, said during an address to parliament.

He tempered his comments slightly by saying that Kurdish leaders already have voted to remain in a united Iraq. But government leaders in Baghdad fear the Kurds are pushing for independence from the rest of Iraq.

John Pilger Detects the Salvador Option
Thursday 4th May 2006

[...] Now that al-Zarqawi has been replaced by "sectarian violence" and "civil war", the big news is the attacks by Sunnis on Shia mosques and bazaars. The real news, which is not reported in the CNN "mainstream", is that the Salvador Option has been invoked in Iraq. This is the campaign of terror by death squads armed and trained by the US, which attack Sunnis and Shias alike. The goal is the incitement of a real civil war and the break-up of Iraq, the original war aim of Bush's administration.

Biden: Split Iraq Into 3 Different Regions
Sen. Joseph Biden Proposes Partitioning Iraq Into Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni Regions
By LIBBY QUAID, The Associated Press
Mon May 1, 6:06 AM ET

WASHINGTON - The senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee proposed Monday that Iraq be divided into three separate regions Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni with a central government in Baghdad.

Bus Bomb Disrupts Iraq Calm
March 4, 2006

Quote: "Iraqis were living in harmony until the occupiers and those who came with them arrived in this country. They are responsible for igniting sectarianism."
- Cleric Ahmed Hassan al-Taha

Sectarian cleansing in Baghdad neighborhoods
Retaliation between Sunnis, Shiites seen as another indication of civil war
MSNBC, March 1, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The sectarian cleansing that drove 68-year-old Abbas al-Saiedi from his home may be as alarming a sign of a country on the brink of civil war as the killings that have swept Iraq in the past week.

Masked gunmen carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers and automatic rifles kicked down the gate at his house, fired into the air and told the Shiite he had 48 hours to get his family out of the predominantly Sunni neighborhood in west Baghdad.

Al-Saiedi’s story, a tale of fear and desperation told to The Associated Press on Wednesday, represents a growing phenomenon of religious cleansing in which members of each Muslim sect are driving the others from neighborhoods where they have long lived side by side. [...]

Daniel Pipes
February 28, 2006

Fixing Iraq is neither the coalition's responsibility nor its burden. The damage done by Saddam will take many years to repair. Americans, Britons, and others cannot be tasked with resolving Sunni-Shiite differences, an abiding Iraqi problem that only Iraqis themselves can address.

The eruption of civil war in Iraq would have many implications for the West. It would likely:

  • Invite Syrian and Iranian participation, hastening the possibility of an American confrontation with those two states, with which tensions are already high.
  • Terminate the dream of Iraq serving as a model for other Middle Eastern countries, thus delaying the push toward elections. This will have the effect of keeping Islamists from being legitimated by the popular vote, as Hamas was just a month ago.
  • Reduce coalition casualties in Iraq. As noted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Rather than killing American soldiers, the insurgents and foreign fighters are more focused on creating civil strife that could destabilize Iraq's political process and possibly lead to outright ethnic and religious war."
  • Reduce Western casualties outside Iraq. A professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Vali Nasr, notes: "Just when it looked as if Muslims across the region were putting aside their differences to unite in protest against the Danish cartoons, the attack showed that Islamic sectarianism remains the greatest challenge to peace." Put differently, when Sunni terrorists target Shiites and vice-versa, non-Muslims are less likely to be hurt.

Civil war in Iraq, in short, would be a humanitarian tragedy but not a strategic one.

Op-Ed: The Three-State Solution
November 25, 2003
New York Times

Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow Council of Foreign Relations

President Bush's new strategy of transferring power quickly to Iraqis, and his critics' alternatives, share a fundamental flaw: all commit the United States to a unified Iraq, artificially and fatefully made whole from three distinct ethnic and sectarian communities. That has been possible in the past only by the application of overwhelming and brutal force.

President Bush wants to hold Iraq together by conducting democratic elections countrywide. But by his daily reassurances to the contrary, he only fans devastating rumors of an American pullout. Meanwhile, influential senators have called for more and better American troops to defeat the insurgency. Yet neither the White House nor Congress is likely to approve sending more troops.

And then there is the plea, mostly from outside the United States government, to internationalize the occupation of Iraq. The moment for multilateralism, however, may already have passed. Even the United Nations shudders at such a nightmarish responsibility.

The only viable strategy, then, may be to correct the historical defect and move in stages toward a three-state solution:

Kurds in the north,
Sunnis in the center
and Shiites in the south.

[...] This three-state solution has been unthinkable in Washington for decades. After the Iranian revolution in 1979, a united Iraq was thought necessary to counter an anti-American Iran. Since the gulf war in 1991, a whole Iraq was deemed essential to preventing neighbors like Turkey, Syria and Iran from picking at the pieces and igniting wider wars.

But times have changed. The Kurds have largely been autonomous for years, and Ankara has lived with that. So long as the Kurds don't move precipitously toward statehood or incite insurgencies in Turkey or Iran, these neighbors will accept their autonomy. It is true that a Shiite self-governing region could become a theocratic state or fall into an Iranian embrace. But for now, neither possibility seems likely.

[...] A strategy of breaking up Iraq and moving toward a three-state solution would build on these realities. The general idea is to strengthen the Kurds and Shiites and weaken the Sunnis, then wait and see whether to stop at autonomy or encourage statehood.

A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties
by Oded Yinon

This essay originally appeared in Hebrew in KIVUNIM (Directions), A Journal for Judaism and Zionism; Issue No, 14--Winter, 5742, February 1982, Editor: Yoram Beck. Editorial Committee: Eli Eyal, Yoram Beck, Amnon Hadari, Yohanan Manor, Elieser Schweid. Published by the Department of Publicity/The World Zionist Organization, Jerusalem.

Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets.
Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul,

and Shi'ite areas in the south
will separate from
the Sunni
and Kurdish north

The goal is the incitement of a real civil war and the break-up of Iraq, the original war aim of Bush's administration.
- John Pilger

Labels: ,