Monday, April 06, 2009

Not out of the woods in Iraq

As noted in this Register editorial from last week, Obama didn't even get a question in his recent news conference about Iraq, so far out of the public mind has it become since the violence seemed to subside over the past year (though it was never at what you would call a really low level). The last couple of weeks, however, have featured tensions that have been bubbling beneath the surface coming up in sad fashion. First the Shia-dominated government, which never really trusted the Sunni Awakening fighters the U.S. paid (a more important development than the U.S. "surge" by a long shot) has hired only 5% of them for the central government security forces (or should that be thug forces?). Then they arrested a Sunni leader (who may well be a crook), which started a riot/mutiny/whatever in Bghdad.

I've just started Ivan Eland's new book, "Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq," but so far it makes a strong case that the least-worst approach would be a weak confederation government and strong local autonomy for the Shia, Sunni and Kurds -- in effect a partition of the country to minimize violence. It's an attarctive idea. At various times over the course of the war I have been almost convinced that various neighborhoods and cities were just too mixed to make partitioning practical, but at this point partition may be the only practical approach.

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