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a political solution in Iraq « Previous | |Next »
May 22, 2007

The political solution in Iraq, as opposed to the military one, was for some sort of political deal amongst Shi'ites and Sunnis and Kurds to form some sort of coalition. That does not seem to be possible. The Shi'ites do not look as if they are going to relinquish any power and the Kurds are looking out for themselves and unwilling to compromise with the Sunni Arabs. So the Sunni insurgency continues.

In this interview Ali A. Allawi by Juan Cole at the Chronicle of Higher Education it is stated by Allawi that the coalition presence in Iraq is an occupation, that stabilization in Baghdad is working in favor of the [predominantly Shiite] United Iraqi Alliance-led government, the presence of foreign troops that have done nothing to stem the violence and mayhem in the country and Shia-led alliance is well on its way to dominating essential parts of the state apparatus, with the US trying to thwart that eventuality. The American war had called forth a genie that the Pax Americana did not like: a Shia-led Iraq. The Bush administration recoiled from the verdict of its own war.

Allawi, a member of the Iraqi government and author of The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace, says that a US withdrawal will not have a material effect on the level of violence:

I do not think that a civil war, which presumes a rough equivalence between the groups inside Iraq, would break out more virulently than it already has. The insurgents will not be able to overwhelm the state. The fact remains that unless there is wide foreign (Arab) intervention on behalf of the Sunni Arabs, there is a power and resource imbalance between the Shia and the Sunni Arabs. The Shia demographic majority, their control over the government apparatus, and their access to resources ensure that this imbalance will continue to their advantage.

He says that a gradual retreat by the central Shiite government from its claim of power over Sunni Arab areas can pave the way for a regional solution to the crisis.

Allawi says that what the Sunni Arab insurgents can do is to make the country, or at least those parts that they can reach, insecure and violent, and difficult to govern. They can also block any attempts of the government to extend its control into their territory, or at least make it extremely costly for it to do so. So the future, from Allawi's insider's view of the ongoing crisis in Iraq, currently looks to be one of a Shia-dominated Iraqi state, a quasi-independent Kurdish region attached to it, and the Sunni Arabs in varying conditions of discontent.

The Occupation of Iraq is a complex book----as this excellent review indicates; but one based in an historical understanding of Iraq.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:00 PM |