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15 November 2007


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Interesting article because we continue to see this mess as what is in America's best interest not Iraqis (all three of them).

Why should the Shia accommodate the Sunnis, is that in their best interest? Is it in the best interest of their Shia patron in Iran? The comment that Iraqi politicians are out of touch with their populations, please see these polls:



The Sunnis realized that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" so they turned on AQI but now wait patiently for America to turn on the Shia. The military officer quoted in the article realize that is alliance is not going to last. So do we turn on the Shia in favor of of the Shia?

The Kurds simply want independence. Period.

So my advice is to partition the country into three parts with some American presence in Kurdistan or simple hand over Acre-castle-like (http://www.antiwar.com/pat/?articleid=11319) embassy in Baghdad to a malevolent dictator like Ayad Allawi.

This not a declaration of defeat but an Orwellian declaration of victory.


As for tipping points, the worst was whatever day in 2002 BushCo definitvely pivoted away from OBL to Saddam. But for that one, neither Pakistan nor Iraq would be at their own now (with, I assume, Afghanistan's less-visible one soon to follow, if it hasn't already passed).

Thanks for the post, Pat. "The state and the national identity were too tentative and fragile to survive the battering that we inflicted on it" is especially spot-on -- dammit.

Martin K

To be a bit rude: From red-hat perspective,long term, the US is landed with a trillion dollar tar-baby. Ouch.


There is one "funny" part in the Ricks piece:

Late last month, Crocker traveled to virtually every nearby Arab country except Syria and Saudi Arabia. His message, one official said, was "Look, you have got to get behind this because you've got to do everything you can to give all sides confidence."

Looking at an Iraq map, there are exactly two "nearby Arab countries" other than Syria and Saudi Arabia.

That would be Kuwait and Jordan - both of them more or less irrelevant. And Crocker "virtually" visited them?

Ricks has quite some humor, but this is devastating.

Mad Dogs

Pat, I agree with your analysis wholeheartedly!

One of the primary focal points to "grease" the way forward is the still unsettled "sharing" of oil revenues.

While there is still substantial ongoing religious/ethnic/tribal tension between the various Iraqi parties that present enormous, and perhaps "perceived" unsolvable obstacles to a "unified" Iraq, "money" may go a long way toward calming the waters.

If everyone gets not only a seat at the table (fair governmental participation), but also plenty to eat at that table (equitable oil revenue distribution), there still exists the possibility of a "peaceful" Iraq, and even a "unified" Iraq.

Is the current Iraqi power structure ready to make this happen?

It doesn't appear so on the surface, but all should remember that most folks eventually tire of conflict, and the incentive of simply living one's life free from strife is a powerful unseen hand motivating all regardless of creed or belief.

The timeframe? Anywhere from days to centuries.


Good article, thanks. I think getting new (Sunni) blood into the gov't will help the process. The orignial national elections seem to have been dominated by ASM and other rejectionist or semi-rejectionist groups for the sunni. If new faces show up and demonstrate a greater willingness to accept and work with the gov't it may make it easier for the shia to make concessions as well.

Martin K

I would be very interested in seeing some information on the penetration of the Maliki state in shia tribal areas. My guess is that the tribal/clan level is much more powerful, as shown in Basra.


events on the ground got so bad in 2007 the administration was forced
loosen it's intransigent stance and reverse strategy:

1) it took on responsibility for stemming violence in baghdad by committing even
more troops

2) it stopped the anti-sunni campaign it initiated early in the occupation and started to "do business" with different sunni faction

the iraq narrative in public discourse indicates general agreement that violence has been greatly reduced

the iraq narrative does not indicate the extent to which the quality of life has improved by the reduction in violence,

i am looking for sings of a complimentary diplomatic
initiative but i don't see it

maybe the present situation is what we get

a holding position

with each passing day the administration loses bargainning power in iraq

everyone knows that when bush/cheney leave the new washdc powers will have to make their own way forward and they will not be bound by the bush/cheney ideology and manner of cronyism

the new powers may have no more than a different ideology and manner of
cronyism but it will not be the bush/cheney brand

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