Monday, June 30, 2014

Iraq - one possible map

Here's one possible map of what a portioned Iraq (and Syria) might look like (from the Gulf2000 Project):

The tripartite division reflects shifting alliances that more closely align with existing ethnic and religious realities. Post-invasion Iraq has more segregation but perhaps no harder feelings between groups than it did under Saddam's rule. People who doubt the latter assessment will do well to remember the harsh, ongoing repression of Shiites by Saddam's regime that culminated in a brutally squashed rebellion following the first Gulf War.

Sending a few advisers will not accomplish goals that the US could not achieve in ten years of occupation. Similarly, giving a relatively small amount of aid to Syrian rebels ($500 million) seems unlikely to shift the balance of power against Assad. Instead, both efforts will most probably end up wasting US tax dollars and perhaps US lives.
General Colin Powell was wrong when he told President Bush that if we break a country, then we have a responsibility to fix it. Powell's comment, which I appreciate ethically, incorrectly presumes that the US can fix any problem it creates. What has happened in Iraq is a poignant warning against the dangers of hubris. A nation can create problems, especially abroad, that it cannot solve.

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