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US failure based on denial of Iraq's sectarian facts on the ground

Reader comment on item: Salvaging the Iraq War

Submitted by Michael Green (United States), Jul 26, 2007 at 11:54

Once the Iraq situation turned into sectarian conflict, any terms-of-reference relative to a US 'victory' or 'defeat' should have ceased to apply.

How can a referee 'win' or 'lose' a match between two boxers out to get each other in the ring? The only success a referee can aspire to,
relates to successfully 'separating' the two parties before they do more harm to each other and then end the fight by calling the outcome.

Such is the position of a referee that the US finds itself in the current crossfire raging accross Iraq. Iraq was never a single nation, it is not one now, and does not seem to offer any such prospects in the future. Sewn by the British out of three disparate and incompatible Ottoman
"vilayet"s (provinces) -- Kurdish Mosul, Sunni-Arab Baghdad, and Shiite-Arab Basra -- Iraq was always an artificial country held together by way oppression; first under British rule, then an imported Hashemite monarchy, and finally Ba'ath despotism.

The US should not attempt to become another enforcer in this chain of oppression. A strategy based on forcing three separate nations, to live
together under a single government against their will, is certainly not a formula for success... On the contrary, it's a certain recipe for US
failure!

As to any military presence, US forces should base themselves in the Kurdish region and use that presence as a key strategic asset to influence events taking place in the region. It's time to grasp for US policymakers that a denial of above sectarian realities lies at the core of all Iraq failures, and that the problems the US has been experiencing in the Iraq conflict have been those of 'strategy', not 'execution'.

Once the Bush administration internalizes this fact and pursues a strategy that supports Iraq's sectarian realities, rather than one that
resists them, then the path to US success in Iraq will become refreshingly clear and achievable.

Coming to think of sectarian divisions -- last time I looked, Iran was not a single nation either, but a restless multi-ethnic empire with some
50% Persians ruling over some 25% Azeri-Turks, 10% Kurds, 5% Shiite-Arabs, etc. Furthermore, the Kurds are the same Kurds as those
across the Iraqi border...

Any ideas come to mind?

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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