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A ? re:Iraq


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Is there any reason that the Sunni, the Shiite, and the Kurds dont divide the country into 3rds and set up seperate countries. I saw this in the other thread but thought it deserved it's own.

Is there a religious implication Im missing? Oil is everywhere right? So dividng the fields should be hard. I guess there only 1 seaport, but that could easily be resolved.

Why is this impossible?

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The first thing that comes to mind is Turkey.

Turkey has had years of terrorism, civil war, and human rights abuses with the Kurds in their country.

The perception is that the Kurds in their country will start it all up again if they can strike and then retreat to their own sovereign nation. There is also the problem of Kurds in Turkey deciding they want their own country again and using Iraq as an example of what they should have.

Basically, Turkey has said in the past they will invade before they allow a Kurdish state to be founded on their southern border. We saw some of that during the war after Turkey denied us their bases and they threatened to move troops into Northern IRaq if the Kurds took oil fields in Iraq. The perception was that would be all that would be necessary for an economically viable Kurdish state.

Side questions: Are we really happy allowing countries to split willy nilly? Will we have problems in the future with this type of precident (though it already exists). Will setting up 3 countries be easier than setting up one?

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Then, there is a question of population distribution in Iraq. You can roughly divide Iraq into 3 ethnic regions but what about city like Baghdad with 40% Shiite population and 5 million people. We'll be staring at civil war and if i'm not mistaken most of the oil fields are in the northern and southern parts of Iraq or the non-Sunni part.

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I can give one example of why *not* to divide the regions. Israel.

The only good thing that can come from this debacle is adding stability to the region (preferably via democracy). If that is impossible, it would have been better to leave Iraq as it was.

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Turkey is the biggest obstacle to such an action.

What the hell does Israel have to do with this???? Sorry, I forget you constantly espouse the usual Muslim "blame the zionists for everything" doctrine.

The final outcome will likely be a Swiss style democracy, with 6 seperate autonomous regions - the 3 you mentions, plus Kirkuk, Mosul, and Baghdad as autonomous cities.

Kirkuk is rightfully Kurdish (actually, so is Mosul), but Baathist "Arabization" policies removed significant Kurdish populations from there, replacing them with loyal Arabs. Turning the city completely over to the Kurds might spark ethnic violence.

In addition, there must be some kind of guarantee amongst all the regions to respect rights of minorities. Turcomen, for example, often face discrimination in Kurdish areas. Chaldean Christians could face retribution from Muslims who view them as Saddam loyalists.

Eventually, Iraq will splinter. Empires erode over time. It may take decades, but it is inevitable.

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Yes, Israel and Palestine are just having a peaceful and wonderful time dividing up their country aren't they (forget the body bags I suppose). Which begs the question, is it better to please one ethnic group rather than displease all of them? I have heard no convincing arguments why splintering Iraq would be better than what we have now.

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Originally posted by kaffeen

I have heard no convincing arguments why splintering Iraq would be better than what we have now.

Kaffeen, you won't hear any convincing arguements period! To plug your ears and whine, “I can’t hear anything” is a bit ludicrous don’t you think? Oh, of course not. :doh:

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Israel and Iraq are not analogous. Israel is a small country surrounded by hostile neighbors with the bulk of its strategic assets (water, natural defenses) in the disputed territory. In addition, the bulk of Palestinians are those of the diaspora living outside the country in refugee camps. They are opposed to any recognition of Israel.

Iraq, on the other hand, is a large country with considerable wealth. Prior to its creation, it was in fact 3 separate republics under the Ottoman empire. The British reneged on their promise of a Kurdish state in order to create a country it could pass on to a friendly Hashemite ruler who would provide them with a steady source of cheap oil. It is an unnatural state which has endured solely under the spectre of Sunni oppression.

Here is your reason it should be allowed to splinter: Every Iraqi group would rather be separated from the rest of the country than be subject to the rule of another ethnic group.

Look at what the Kurds have done since gaining their autonomy. While there continues to be some in-fighting between various tribal factions, they have nevertheless held elections and built schools, hospitals, and a thriving infrastructure. The administration's overconfidence in vis a vis post-war Iraq was undoubtedly fueled by the success it had had after implementing the autonomous Kurdish enclave.

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An article by the inestimable Ralph Peters on this very topic. Enjoy:



July 10, 2003 -- PRESIDENT Bush consistently has done the right thing by ignoring the nay- sayers before, during and after Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet he's in danger of making the same mistake his father did at the end of Desert Storm - doing only half the job.

Just as the failure to press on to Baghdad in 1991 left Iraq and the entire region with cancerous problems, today's failure to recognize the artificial, unjust nature of the Iraqi state promises enduring discontent.

Will American troops need to return to Iraq a third time, in another decade?

Speaking of Iraq as a single, integrated country is a form of lying. Its borders were drawn by grasping European diplomats almost a century ago, with no regard for the wishes - or rivalries - of the local populations.

Today, the Iraq we're trying to herd back together consists of three distinct nations caged under a single, bloodstained flag. Our problems are with only one of those nations, the Sunni Arab minority west and north of Baghdad.

Favored by the British, the Sunni Arabs took power at Iraq's formation and maintained it through massacre, torture and imprisonment. Saddam Hussein was the ultimate expression of Sunni Arab tyranny over Iraq's Kurds and Shi'ites.

By holding Iraq together with U.S. troops, we merely encourage the Sunni Arabs - who remain hostile to our presence, whose extremists attack our soldiers and who still intend to recapture control of the entire country.

We are punishing our friends, rewarding our enemies and alienating the neutral. President Bush needs to perform radical surgery on Iraq now, while the world remains in a funk over our success. We still have a window through which we can thrust major reforms. But the window is closing. Defending the status quo is deadly folly.

The break-up of Iraq should proceed in two stages.

First, we should provisionally divide the country into a federation of three states, giving the Sunni Arabs one last chance to embrace reform.

* One state would encompass the Shi'ite region in the south, encompassing all of the southern oil fields.

* The second would be an expanded Kurdistan, including historically Kurdish Kirkuk and Mosul, as well as Iraq's northern oil fields.

* The third would be a rump Sunni Arab state sandwiched between the other two.

* Baghdad would become an autonomous district.

Stop worrying about Shi'ite extremism. If we mean what we say about democracy, the Shi'ites should be free to choose whomever they want as their leaders - even fundamentalists. Although the odds of theocratic rule emerging or enduring in southern Iraq are lower than the media imply, the Shi'ites, who long have been oppressed and persecuted, should be free to determine their own future.

Democracy means letting people make their own mistakes. We've made a few ourselves. The only thing upon which we should insist is strict supervision to ensure an honest vote.

We must, however, make it clear to Iran that meddling will not be tolerated.

As this column consistently points out, the Kurds deserve freedom and a state of their own. After the Jews and Armenians, they have been the most persecuted ethnic group of the last hundred years, always denied an independent homeland, shot, gassed, driven from their homes - and even victimized for the use of their native dialects. The world's willingness to look away from the long tragedy of the Kurdish people is inexcusable.

And consider how strategically helpful a Kurdish state, reliant on U.S. military guarantees, might be. If the Kurdish people agreed to host our forces, we could abandon our bases in Turkey, the use of which has been restricted almost to worthlessness. New airbases amid a welcoming population would be quite a change in the region. Even the Saudis and the Gulf Arabs would be on notice.

And what about Turkey? Our "long-time ally"?

I have no personal grudge against Turkey. On the contrary, I've visited the country many times and even took my wife there on our honeymoon. Istanbul remains one of my favorite cities. I've argued for years that Turkey was a vital ally.

But times change. Turkish treachery on the eve of our recent war cannot be overlooked.

Startled by the swiftness of our victory, the Turks immediately assured us that it was all a minor misunderstanding, that Turkey wished to remain the best of friends. Yet Turkey is again becoming the "sick man of Europe," plagued by ineradicable corruption, growing Islamic radicalism and a self-destructive military.

The result of our renewed friendship? Last week, U.S. forces had to break up a secret Turkish military operation in northern Iraq, arresting a dozen of Ankara's special operations troops. The Turkish mission? To assassinate the senior Kurdish leader in Kirkuk. His crime? Cooperating with the Americans.

The Turkish chief of staff, Gen. Ozkok, threw a public tantrum, insisting that we had created a grave crisis by busting his assassins. Sorry, pal. You created the crisis. And you just blew any chance you and your government had of rebuilding bridges to Washington that will bear any real weight.

The Turkish military's scheme to undercut our occupation underscores the need for the Bush administration to stop thinking small when it comes to nation-building. Instead of just changing the oil in the old jalopy, it's time for a fleet of new cars. An independent Kurdistan should roll off the assembly line first.

The second stage of the division of Iraq would kick in if the Sunni Arabs still refuse to cooperate: We would declare the interim Iraqi Federation dissolved, creating three fully independent states in its place, with the Kurdish and Shi'ite states meeting along the Iranian border to guarantee the Kurds a corridor to the sea for their oil, gas and trade.

Then leave the Sunni Arabs to rot.

Oh, and there just might be a third step down the road, too. We should not miss any opportunity to support the longing for freedom of the tens of millions of Kurds held hostage behind European-imposed borders in Turkey, Syria and Iran. For Americans serious about human rights and freedom, Greater Kurdistan must be a long-range goal.

Military operations alone cannot change the Middle East. The European legacy of phony borders must be demolished, starting in Iraq. Don't betray our troops again by leaving the job unfinished to please our enemies.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of "Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World."

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A point that everyone has ignored so far is that breaking of Iraq is not in our interest. Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis(yes) will all prefer independent countries down the road but can it be done without destabilising Iraq as a whole. I think bettere question is do we want Balkanized, unstable pseudo-countries in middle of mid-east?

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The Balkans got to be as bad as they did because the previous Bush administration bowed to the wishes of Gorbachev and tried to keep Yugoslavia together.

Again, success in the Kurdish north has already given us a glimpse of what is possible. Allowing the affected parties negotiate a separation (see the former Czechoslovakia) as opposed to pressuring them to stick together as we did in Yugoslavia seems the best path to avoid a repeat of the Balkan fiasco. It is an imperfect solution with potential pitfalls, but Iraq is not salvageable as a Democratic nation for the same reasons the Soviet Union could not be held together without oppression.

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While freedom for all is a noble goal, any country in position of power should look after its interests first and foremost. A nation for Kurds is not in our interest at the moment as Turkey won't take it lying down and we are not going to fight Turkey. So, we'll end up with a destabilized Kurdistan instead of an autonomous Kurdish state inside Iraq. Same holds true for Shiites and their relations with Iran. Any attempt to divide Iraq into 3 or more regions will invite chaos and balance of power shifting to people who are ,at best , ill-equipped to rule. While Balkan is a good example it cannot be applied in this case as terrorism is a clear and present danger to US interests. We are more likely to stabilize a single Iraq by granting autonomy to different regions than by breaking Iraq into 3 or more parts and inviting a civil war.

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Are you being serious?

I'm just asking because I don't honestly know (not about what you meant but about Russia). There are certainly lots of terrorists strikes there as more areas wish to leave their assigned countries.

But, I guess atleast without the USSR, we (and the USSR) are no longer propping up as many crooked regimes in the hope of dragging down the other side.

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ever flown on a Soviet Mig? Tracked the Bears rolling out of Viet Nam? Watched the Ballistic subs patrolling off the West Coast in decades past? Been to Defcon 2? Observed the biochem factories? Noted that the Soviets were generations ahead of us in germ/bio weaponry?

not sure I agree there...mon frere!

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