The Iraq Crisis – Can Iraq save Itself? Ramblings of an Old Political Science Major!

Shia men

Iraqi men raise their weapons to show their support for the call to arms by Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani [AFP]

So from the moment that the US began the invasion of Iraq, I thought that it was wrong! To me, it was obvious from everything that I read that the country was deeply divided between the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds and that the lynch pin holding everything together was brutal regime of Saddam Hussein, so that once the pin was removed the country would explore just like a grenade!.

As I watched the events unfold in Iraq my concern grew  for the common Iraqi. The Iraqi,  who day after day watched his country be destroyed, through no fault of their own. They watched as,their friends and families were senselessly killed, and I thought that every child, left without a parent or parent without a child, was another Iraqi who would hate America.  The Republicans thought we would be greeted as great liberators, that Iraqis would rejoice now that their country was free. But they forgot, in my opinion, one important factor, that in Iraq religious and regional identity trumps national identity! Forgot or in cases like George Bush, didn’t know that Iraqi’s are Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, first and Iraqis a distant second.

Now here we sit and watch a deeply troubled Iraq and the right wants to pin the blame on the Obama Administration but I think most would agree that is not the case.. I read the a post in Foreign Affairs today, titled: How Maliki Lost Iraq:The Slow Motion Collapse of a Sectarian Truce – that explains the collapse like this……

In fact, it is Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who bears responsibility for the current debacle. His self-defeating security strategy in the Sunni-majority areas during his second term in office squandered the security gains enabled by the United States’ military surge between 2007 and 2009. Maliki’s counterinsurgency policies, particularly in Anbar province, were debilitating for the Iraqi military’s morale and alienating for the local population and the country’s Sunni population more generally. Maliki placed the Iraqi military stationed in Ninewa province under the control of officers who were personally loyal to him but were otherwise incompetent or implicated in vicious crimes. (By the time of the ISIS offensive in June, the Iraqi military in Ninewa was under the command of one general who was implicated in torture in secret government prisons; another general who had been sacked in 2009 for failing in a previous assignment to protect Baghdad from terror attacks, only to be reinstated the same year; and a third who oversaw deployments in the town of Hawija in April 2013 that resulted in dozens of deaths of Sunni civilians who were protesting peacefully.) As a result, the military was quickly depleted of morale and cohesion, and the local population lost confidence in the central government. Read More

I read the similar thoughts in this article at Al Jazeera…..

The reality is that, in the aftermath of the illegal 2003 invasion, coalition forces pretty much ran the textbook of how to turn a functional nation into a terrorised and devastated failed state.

With utter disregard for the consequences for Iraqis, this US-led coalition dismantled the state, gutted political and military institutions and dissolved the army, police and security apparatus.

And, as if the goal was actively to hobble the nation (“liberation” and “democracy” in the interventionist dictionary), this coalition then set about marginalising Iraqi Sunnis, thereby fomenting sectarianism and instability.

The US-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki only made things worse, pursuing corrupt, authoritarian and openly divisive policies – buying the loyalty of his own people and bullying everybody else.

But adopting the standard practice in the Middle East of backing a stability-bringing strongman regardless of his repellent policies towards his own people, the US continued to support Maliki, throwing huge sums of money at him.Read More

So now the question is – What do we do?. One option is that US troops return in support of a government that has lost the support of a portion of the population, This action may stop the bloodshed for a while, but does little to answer the real problem of a fractured Iraq. A second option is a negotiated truce followed by a division of the country into three states. But in thinking about it today could this be a third option. For years Kurds have lived had a semi-autonomous state that pretty much does what it wants, but still is part of Iraq. Could a United Kingdom of Iraq be formed where the three main sects Sunni. Shia, and Kurds are given some self-rule, but are still part of Iraq. The head of the country could be someone who is bipartisan and acceptable to all three groups, maybe an atheist, who would not be aligned with any of the religious groups! (LOL) What do you think???

Hell maybe these are just the ramblings of an old political science major, but all I know is that leaving  things as they are, is not going to work any more,and another round of shock and awe is not going to work either!! I am getting down off of my soap box now!!