A Level Gaze

"What effect must it have on a nation if it learns no foreign languages? Probably much the same as that which a total withdrawal from society has upon an individual."
--G.C. Lichtenberg



Links


New Email Address! levelgaze@gmail.com

Blogs

NoWarBlog

The Lefty Directory

The Agonist
aintnobaddude
alicublog
Alas, a Blog
Altercation
Ambivalent Imbroglio
AmericaBlog
American Street
Amygdala
Anger Management
Angry Bear
Armed Liberal
Bad Attitudes
Barney Gumble
Bartcop
Beyond Corporate
Billmon
Blah3
Body and Soul
Booman Tribune
Brad DeLong
Busy Busy Busy
Buzzflash
By Neddie Jingo
Calculated Risk
CalPundit
Chase me ladies
Chris Nelson
Contested Terrrain
Cooped Up
Conceptual Guerilla
corrente
Counterspin
Crooked Timber
Daily Howler
Daily Kos
Decembrist
Demosthenes
Driftglass
D-Squared Digest
Electrolite
Eschaton
Ethel
Ezra Klein
Fafblog!
Fanatical Apathy
Firedoglake
First Draft
Fistful of Euros
get donkey!
Globblog
The Hamster
Here's What's Left
Horowitz Watch
Housing Bubble
Hullabaloo
Intl News
Istanblog
James Wolcott
Jesus' General
Juan Cole
Junius
Lean Left
Left Coast Breakdown
Letter from Gotham
Liberal Oasis
MacDiva
MadKane
Mahablog
Majikthise
Making Light
Marginal Revolution
Mark Kleiman
Matthew Yglesias
MaxSpeak
Media Whores Online
Michael Finley
Michael Froomkin
MyDD
My Left Wing Nathan Newman
Off the Kuff
Oliver Willis
Orcinus
Pandagon
Pen-Elayne
Pfaffenblog
PLA
The Poor Man
R.B. Ham
Raed in the Middle
Ragout
Raw Story
ReachM High Cowboy
Rittenhouse Review
The Road to Surfdom
Roger Ailes
Rude Pundit
Ruminate This
Seeing the Forest
Seize the Fish
Self Made Pundit
Sideshow
Sirotablog
Sisyphus Shrugged
Skippy
Slacktivist
South Knox Bubba
Steve Gilliard
Talking Points Memo
Talk Left
The Talking Dog
Tapped
TBogg
Ted Barlow
Testify!
Thinking It Through
Through the Looking Glass
TNR Online
Tres Producers
TRR
Two Tears in a Bucket
uggabugga
Unknown News
Vaara
Wampum
War Liberal
Winning Argument
Wonkette
WTF Is It Now


General Interest

BBC News
The Economist
Metafilter
RealPolitik
Robot Wisdom



Bob. A damn fine comic.

Archives


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Saturday, January 03, 2004
 
Why A Unified Iraq?

Juan Cole has an excellent post up concerning the major tasks remaining in the US "war on terror" which includes the following paragraph:

3. Iraq must be given a stable and united government. Allowing it to split up into three parts would guarantee future terrorism. The Sunni Arabs would be left poor and without a petroleum income, and would watch as the Kurds (1000 wellheads) and Shiite Arabs (500 wellheads) got rich. They would have every reason to try to take Kirkuk, where they are about a third of the population or more, by force, to get its 100 wellheads and its pipelines. If they failed, they would be left without a visible means of income, and would quickly become poorer than Jordanians. Their resentments would fuel massive terrorism in the Middle East that would almost certainly eventually touch the US.
Unfortunately, what he outlines cannot be accomplished through democratic means. The Shi'a are an absolute majority and, given the chance, would push their advantage over the Sunni (especially) and the Kurds. The latter two groups understandably see themselves as legitimately entitled to the areas under their control, and as owed recompense for Saddam's depradations. In the case of the Kurds, the compensation would include the return of Kirkuk to them.

There is no just rationale for a unified Iraq, only the practical considerations Juan enumerated. Iraq is a bogus state, crafted according to British colonial and balance-of-power considerations obtaining in the early 20th century. The only reasons people come up with now have to do with the fact that the world community's gotten used to it as it is (was), and it would cost us a lot of inconvenience adjusting to any change.

Sunni Iraq was given preeminence over the rest arbitrarily. The Ba'athists used their position to steal from, bully, and murder their compatriots. Their potential "resentments" pursuant to losing their advantage have no greater intrinsic legitimacy than the likely resentments of the (much more numerous) Shi'a and Kurds at having sovereignty over themselves and their land diminished, which would be a prerequisite to a united government.

On top of this, the Bush administration has been talking about "liberation" and "democracy" for Iraq and the Arab world generally. In order to wind up with a unified Iraq that doesn't inflame Sunni resentment, it will necessarily have to be led by a Sunni, which implies a steady diet of repression and expropriation of and from the Kurds and Shi'a.

Instead of Iraq becoming a beacon of American-created Democracy, it will become to the Muslim world a (-nother) beacon of American perfidy. The Shi'a will most likely turn to Iran-style fundamentalism, and the disenfranchised Kurds aren't likely to sit on their hands waiting for things to get better, either.

If the situation implies big negatives either way, why can't we err on the side of justice rather than perpetuating the arbitrary minority control that got Iraq this way in the first place?