The Iraq of the Future
Iraq is in a sad state right now. In a situation that some have called a civil war,
there is much danger and uncertainty about the future. Currently there are Sunni Muslims
fighting Shiite Muslims throughout the country. In addition, there are foreign terrorists,
such as Al Qaeda, who are out for killing just about anyone, American, Shiite, or Muslim.
The Iraqi government is fighting to quell militant groups from putting the country into
further chaos, as are the American and other international forces stationed in the region.
The Kurds have perhaps been the luckiest group as they have largely escaped the
violence by being in a predominately homogenous, stable region in northern Iraq.
Nonetheless, Iraq is a powder keg, and the spark to blow Iraq is coming if we continue
along this path, it is simply a matter of time.
Currently, the Bush Administration, which make no mistake about it, is the largest
and most important player in this deadly game in Iraq, has its’ mind set on maintaining
the status quo. Their desire is to maintain US troops in the region, continue to solidify the
Iraqi government, army, and police forces, and to eventually allow them to take complete
control of the country. The problem with this idea is that the US has been on this course
for the past three and a half years, and there is little to be shown for it. Iraq does not have
a stable government, there is in fact more violence going on in Iraq today than there was
in the immediate aftermath of the American invasion, and Al Qaeda is more entrenched
in Iraq today than it has ever been in the past. Many in the United States, and around the
world, are pushing for America to pull out. They claim that I t would be best if American
and other international forces simply left Iraq for the Iraqis. While the idea sounds
pleasant, it simply would not work. If all of the American forces left tomorrow, what
would happen to Iraq? Simply stated, the chaos that is going on there today would be
childs play compared to what would happen without the stabilizing force that is the US
military. Perhaps Iran would decide to move in as the stabilizing force. Or maybe the
Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds would continue to fight and hate each other in a long and bitter
civil war. Or possibly, a new strongman, a la Saddam Hussein, could come in and
brutally seize power over the nation. None of these are good outcomes. If America left
Iraq, the Iraqis wouldn’t simply roll over and say, OK we will be peaceful now. The
outcome would be bloody and be a detriment to the entire Middle East, and thus the
My belief is that the best way to move forward in Iraq today is for the United
States and the Iraq government to partition the country into three parts. Northern Iraq for
the Kurds, Southern Iraq for the Shiites, and Central Iraq for the Sunnis. Fine details
would have to be sorted out, such as how oil revenue works, the portioning of Iraq, etc.
but largely that’s how the country should be divided. This would assuredly cause
disagreements, particularly between the Shiites and Sunnis, and definitely about oil.
Likewise, Turkey would be very unhappy to see an independent Kurdish nation at its’
border. However, I think that those disagreements would be more easily dealt with than
any other option currently on the table. It is not an outcome that anyone (besides the
Kurds, for their own reasons) would be happy with if they were told before the US
invasion of Iraq that it would happen, but it is the only option at this point that would
avoid a full blown civil war.
Unfortunately, America decided to invade Iraq and attempt a Japan post WWII
style nation building effort on Iraq. It hasn’t worked up to this point, and I believe that
even if it does work someday in the future if we continue along this path, it won’t be
worth the eventual cost. There must be radical steps taken to avoid this foreign policy
free fall, and it is my belief that the best choice to make at this point is to divide Iraq into
separate countries. No group would be satisfied, but no group could say they had been
treated unfairly in the partition, and that is the definition of a compromise.