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15 May 2010


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Sad but true. But I would say it was bound to happen regardless of the election results. Alawi won a plurality. He did not, and could never have, win a majority. Indeed the Majority of Iraqis would not tolerate him as PM. If he became PM it would lead to... yes that is correct, Civil War.

The fact of the matter though, is that Sunnis cannot win a civil war. Suicide bombings are devastating but they will not force Shiites to relinquish power. The Sunni's best bet is to keep their heads down and work towards gradual reintegration. They will come to that conclusion after the civil war is over. The surrounding Sunni states can only do so much. Iraqis need only look at all the 'help' they've given the Palestinians. Their actions will only bring the Iraqi government closer to Iran. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are vulnerable to destabilization themselves. Eventually, they will realize they cannot win and accept the situation as it is.

Iran looks set to rearrange the pieces as it likes. Most of the Sunni world outside of Iraq really has no problem with that.

Full disclosure, I'm a non-practicing Sunni from Egypt raised in the USA.

anna missed

I still don't understand why Christopher Hill seemed to (once again) buy into the Chalabi orchestrated de-Baathification regimen before the election. One can't help (from this tacit approval) but assume that they thought by eliminating all those other Sunni candidates, the Sunni vote would have to consolidate around Allawi's Iraqiyya Party - and that he might then get enough votes to edge out the fractured Shiite parties and get first choice in forming a government. A government that would be inspired by the way back machine of Allawi's former 2004 Bush appointed government.

That would have looked pretty good both as a late come vindication of what Bush tried to fabricate (just a little too early) and also set the stage for an orderly U.S. withdrawal under the watchful eye of a familiar face in the Iraqi drivers seat. It would also appear as a harbinger of secularism being (finally) embraced as a U.S. friendly neo-liberal model for Iraq's future.

Except that like all Chalabi carrot scams, it hasn't quite worked out according to plan. And while Allawi did win by a hair, he didn't have any takers to make up a new alliance, and instead we have the Shiite religious parties coming together with Maliki's SOL party joining up with a recharged, and more Iran centric Muqtata al-Sadr at the helm. Just today it was reported that Sadr will even acquiesce to a Maliki PM'ship should he agree to release Muqtada's jailed lieutenants. Which he will no doubt do in the blink of an eye, and so we are well on our way to Shiite sectarian governance and potentially a carbon likeness to Iranian theocratic rule.

This is, as I see it a catastrophic political failure (for the U.S.A.) based on a high stakes gamble that didn't need to happen.

I would imagine that it's this, the immanent prospects of Iraq slipping completely into Iran's orbit (and out of ours) is what's really behind all the talk of delaying the timeline withdrawal of U.S. troops. A return to civil war violence will be a symptom, as opposed to the underlying disease itself.

Adam L Silverman

Lysander: There won't be any reintegration occurring. It has been widely reported that US military and diplomatic leaders have repeatedly proposed wide scale Iraqi reconciliation programs to accompany the de-Ba'athification process or as the follow on to it - at least since the 2005 national elections. The Iraqi response has always been something along the lines of "we will do reconciliation in our own time and our own way." The leaders of the Anbar Awakening told reporters back in 2007 that they were just waiting for the US to leave so they could go to Baghdad and settle their scores.

The problem in Iraq, as elsewhere that the Bush Administration promoted democracy and used elections as the benchmark that a democracy existed, is that even proper elections do NOT necessarily guarantee the election of people that are wedded to the idea of democracy or liberty or freedom or even the institutional rules of the political system they are operating in. No party or party list, as they're presently constituted, was going to win an outright majority and be able to establish the next government without the need for a coalition. The question that we are faced with now, as I wrote about several weeks ago, is do we have enough influence in Iraq left to further establish the institutional rules that would give Allawi the first shot to build a coalition or govern or do we show the Iraqis that we either don't care enough about democracy, unless we're using it as an excuse for vigorous intervention, or the actual outcomes that we claim that they, and everyone else needs to be invested in.

Adam L Silverman

Anna Missed: I don't know have a really good idea of what the diplomatic folks are up to right now in Baghdad - and even as an informed observer I'm not sure I ever did as too much of it made little sense to me... However, I think the problem here is less what AMB Hill is or is not doing and more the reality of the mess the CPA handed off in 2005. I was often told by the PRT folks I dealt with that one of the main problems is that there is a "pet" Chalabi person in every office at the Iraqi Transition Assistance Office and that everything gets vetted through them. If this is indeed the case, and not just hyperbole born of frustration (and I suspect the truth is somewhere in between), there is virtually nothing anyone could have done to stop the Iraqis from purging candidates prior to the elections.

Remember, Chalabi is an Iranian agent of influence who has been manipulating various American elites and notables for decades. PM Maliki and his State of Law list, just like the Iraqi National Alliance, are Iranian backed and religious Shi'a. Maliki's particular genius has been to reinvent himself from weak, American proxy/patsy into semi-Iraqi strongman in five years. He's done a very good job coup proofing himself and making sure his real benefactors in Iran are by and large happy. As for Moqtada al Sadr - he stopped being a player the minute he allowed the Iranians to control him through the attempt to become a full fledged ayatullah. So long as they control his ability to get the credentials, he has no independent authority or autonomy.

We have had very little influence, outside of brute force, which we've decided to largely eschew for the past year or so, in Iraq. Once the Iraqis realized they could take us on the Security Agreement negotiations they rolled us up on the Provincial Election law and process. They're doing the same thing with the current electoral process and formation of a new government. And this stage we can't do much about it.

505th PIR

Iraq will not fracture into separate ethnic and sovereign states. What will occur is Al Anbar and other Sunni areas becoming ungovernable by any central authority. The Kurds will not plunge into the abyss out of the gates because they have a balancing act to do with larger nations who are hostile to a Kurdish national entity.

When the Sunni fracture occures, the Shite central authority will respond with an all out military crackdown assisted by the full militia spectrum. Ethnic cleansing in areas of "mixed" populations will occur and brutal fighting will occur in the Sunni areas. Peppered amongs all of this will be spectacular and coordinated bombings and other terrorist assaults amongst the soft target Shiite population. AQI will get a second wind and an even nastier version will arise. As the weight of Shiite numbers and backing of Iran grind up the Sunnis, more and more extreme groups/tactics will come to bear. There will be no retreat from this battlefield and by the time the end-game begins to arrive, WMD, probably biological are not out of the question.


Adam, I agree the US will not be able to broker a reintegration. It never had a chance. I also expect a lot of violence to occur, probably much like 505th PIR suggests. After they exhaust themselves, reconciliation can and will occur. It happened in Lebanon and it will happen in Iraq. How many people die between now and then will be a sad question to answer.



Chalabi is an Iranian agent of influence who has been manipulating various American elites and notables for decades

I think the proper description of "our man" Ahmed is that he is an Iranian Agent. Period.

When history is written, it will say that Chalabi was one of the greatest intelligence coups of all times. Single, double or triple - as an a real agent, Chalabi has served his MOIS masters well.

And of course, himself.



Sunni Iraqis can't win a civil war. Turki is talking regional conflict and as everyone should know the Arab world is 90% Sunni.

Patrick Lang


Some mute, untutored Dzerzhinsky will probably never receive the credit due. pl


Neither side accepts the results. Allawi's 91 seats fall far short of him being able to form a government. He could try, of course, but the Shia don't want him. Have we forgotten that Kadima won more seats that Likud, yet Netanyahu is PM.

It's not a coup just because a man with a slight plurality has no friends outside his Western- and Saudi-back list.

different clue

If I were smarter I wouldn't make any more predictions about Iraq, given what my last prediction came to.

But I am not smarter, so here goes (in vaguest general). Decades from now "history" will look back and say of al Sadr, he had potential but he couldn't live up to it. Opportunity knocked and al Sadr said "I'm not home".

William R. Cumming

Are there any real arguments that there will NOT be civil war when the US pulls out?

In reality was there anything the US could have done while there NOT to promote future civil war?

Patrick Lang



1- We could have re-built the Iraqi armed forces rather than destroy them as we did.

2-Later we could have kept our implied promise of support to the "Sons of Iraq." pl

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