Sunday, October 08, 2006
Woodward spills the Beans on Iraq
But, despite all warnings, the die was cast: the bombs dropped, the tanks rolled and things have got so bad now, according to Woodward, that an attack is made in Iraq by insurgents once every 15 minutes. More and more it resembles the shambles in Vietnam and it cannot be long before scuttling strategies are investigated. We perhaps read of onesuch in the Sunday Times today. A Congressional study group, set up with presidential approval and led by former Secretary of State James Baker, may very well recommend that Iraq be divided up into three autonomous units recognising the de facto power bases already fighting what is effectively a civil war: the Kurds, the Shias and the Sunnis. This seems like a possible sword to cut the Gordian Knot of Iraq, especially as 'ethnic cleansing' is already well advanced in Bagdhad, but the danger is that it might make things even worse. Consider:
i) wouldn't a Kurdish state lead to demands for inclusion of 'nationals' from Turkey and Iran, triggering a potentially catastrophic regional conflict?
ii) wouldn't the Sunnis refuse to be locked out of the oil which mostly lies in Shia areas?
iii) how would the 'mixed' urban settlements of Iraq's major cities be resolved?
iv)is there not a danger of groups-for example redidual Ba-athists- fighting for the maintenance of a unified state?
Indeed, so disastrously mismanaged has the intervention been that it may well be too late for western action to have any significant effect whatsoever. As Anthony Cordesman of the Centre of Strategic and International Studies, is quoted as saying: 'The internal politics of Iraq have taken on a momentum of their own.' Meanwhile I read in the Sunday Telegraph that an ICM poll reveals over half of British people want withdrawals from Iraq within a year and Afghanistan by the end of this year.