Friday, May 18, 2007

Lot's of Damage, but Precious Little Control

(Shameless self-promotion alert: This post, which was cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose, was linked at the Salon Blog Report on Friday, 18 May.)

As Tony “the Poodle” Blair was jetting off toward Washington for his last official visit and ear scratching, and a billet in the Queen’s Bedroom, the renowned British think-tank Chatham House released a scathing report on the state of Iraq.

I just read Facing Realities in Iraq.

Oy vey. I need a drink. A strong one.

As a WW II British aircraft mechanic famously exclaimed as he assessed a heavily damaged plane that barely made it back after a dogfight – “Fuck! The fucking fucker’s fucked!”

The report is stark and sobering in its assessment and it delivers a stinging indictment of the folly of the Iraq misadventure, stupidly launched on lies by mendacious, warmongering, agenda-driven idiots. Believe it or not – I just toned it down.

It is increasingly likely that a stable, unified Iraq is simply not a possibility. The country has fractured into regional power bases.

  • The three pillars of power – economic, security and political – have devolved into tribal and ethnic factions. The so-called government of Iraq is merely one “state-like actor” and at grave risk of being upstaged. This breaking down along regional and tribal lines is a defining feature of the political structure of Iraq, and recognition of this is mandatory.

  • Iraq is not caught in the grip of a sectarian civil war – it is a seething cauldron of many different civil and sectarian conflicts. These conflicts have become internalized, and the influence of this has weakened the social fabric.

  • The attempt to secure the capital by escalating the number of troops (what they still stupidly and wrongly refer to as a “surge”) is not curbing violence, and security can not be restored in a short period of time, if at all.

  • Destabilizing issues loom on the horizon and will come to the fore in the next year. Issues like oil sharing, control of disputed territories and Federalism will need to be resolved.

  • This need for resolution is complicated by the meddling of the neighbors. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all have various reasons for perpetuating Iraqi instability, and all use different means to peddle their influence.

It is high time that these realities be acknowledged and accepted if the complete and utter implosion of the state of Iraq is to be averted. A political strategy is needed far more desperately than any ultimately counter-productive military options that can be exercised. Said political solution will require reaching out to organizations that possess popular legitimacy among Iraqis, irregardless of what western powers think about those institutions.

Ultimately, it’s their country, no matter how desperately we lust for their oil.

[Cross-posted from the blog you should be reading, Watching Those We Chose]

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