Friday, April 4, 2008


Whatever motivated the invasion of Iraq, the consequences now encountered were evidently neither expected in any incarnation, nor planned for. As the status quo is untenable there is urgent need for action. A decision is required. The longer it takes the worse the situation will get for the people of Iraq. Their lives dramatically changed when comprehensive and stifling sanctions were implemented in 1990. Education came to a grinding halt, and it will take years to rebuild the educational infrastructure, which will bring back hope and confidence. In another couple of years a whole generation will have known nothing but war and human misery, and will have had absolutely no serious educational program on which to build careers and reconstruct a country. It is time to give Iraqis their nation back before too few are left to remember that most Shiite, Sunni or Kurd Iraqis described themselves as Iraqis above all else and religious or sectarian group members second.

The Iraqi people, with their different sectarian ancestries had little choice but to succumb to the armed oppression of Hussein, and yet, they managed to co-exist and even to inter-marry. It should above all be remembered that for much of the past century Iraq has been a secular country. The majority of Iraqis are telling the world through their actions and words they cannot accept foreign troops on their soil. Fear should not be a reason to remain.

The phrase “they’ll follow us home” if troops depart, articulates a stimulation of deep seeded fears. Rhetoric appropriately sprinkled with “potentially catastrophic consequences” is also effective. The power of these expressions is that they strike at the core of human anxiety – personal safety and that of home and family. Fear is an effective method of swaying public opinion, but it is also intellectually lazy. It’s design requires little creativity or acumen, and its effective application demands little sweat other than repetition.

Most Muslims in Iraq, are considered mainstream Muslims. Iraqi’s have little in common with al-Qaeda and it’s objectives. If anything, they would probably find very effective ways of overruning the al-Qaeda presence in their country, once allowed to fend for themselves. The al-Qaeda insurgence would be overcome by the Kurds and the Shiites, who represent the vast majority of the Iraqi population and who would probably find support from most Sunnis as well.

The scenarios anticipated in the event of troop withdrawal are as numerous as their authors and as varied as their motives. Saudis would rather have the U.S. remain and bear the brunt of the problem. In the event of a troop redeployment, Saudi Arabia would support the Sunnis, and Iranian support of Shiites would continue. The caveat is that any elevation of sophistication in the nature of the weapons supplied and an elevation in the violence would be tempered by self preservation on the part of those neighbors. Neither would want to foment escalation to levels that might impose incursions on their own territories. Iraq’s neighbors should have greater apprehension for U.S. troops leaving than Americans should.

With this potent leverage, America can galvanize commitment from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and others. These countries can be influenced to establish a peacekeeping military force led by the UN and composed strictly of Arab Muslim soldiers. America can insist on the engagement of organizations currently participating or co-operating around Muslim endeavors including the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). There is an extended list of countries who could complement the assistance, from Indonesia to Pakistan. Iran, a non-Arab country, would not play a role, and would be forced to terminate any support it currently provides to insurgents.

America should make a firm statement providing short notice of its withdrawal, and offer nominal transitional help, such as leaving all non military equipment behind for the Muslim troops to use through their peace keeping and oversight presence. The exit could be executed within a few short months. Some of the countries currently sitting back callously enjoying the sight of America agonizing, can be rapidly pressed into more serious and diligent absorption in the appeasement of regional tension. Such endeavor could invigorate an extension of their cooperative involvement to other fractious corners of the Middle East.

With non-Muslim military presence and all related excuses removed, Iraqis may return to a sense of nationalism, transcending sectarian political control. Iraqis can once again direct their talents to the reconstruction of their country and its restoration to former glory as a crucible of human ingenuity.

1 comment:

  1. Finally, a responsible adult on the scene! American, yet. Your analysis and ideas are excellent - it was clear from the very first that the occupation was an irritant that the "body politic" would try to expel at all costs. Iraq's neighbors, and I include Iran, because I don't think they can be ignored, have the biggest stakes in the region and are the best bet in obtaining peace and a hopeful future.
    Rice talks about the need for the Arab states to get involved, BUT what she wants is for them to carry water for the failed US policies. Hopefully, they are smart enough to see this dead end looming.
    As for the "follow up home" nonsense - the average Iraqi is not interested, never was interested in attacking the US. You may have some deeply injured people going after individual, like Cheney, Bush, etc., but frankly they are welcome to do so. The Bush admin. and the Neocons are NOT AMERICA.