The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Finally, some good news from Iraq

with one comment

Juan ColeMiddle East scholar Juan Cole pointed out that the US-led invasion of Iraq had crushed Saddam’s Sunnis, and that Sunnis were vastly under-represented in the subsequent government. Fearing government reluctance to protect them against revenge-bent Shi’ite militias, and seeing the US backing the mostly-Shi’ite government, the Sunnis took up arms: thus, civil war. Cole likened the potential result of a precipitous exit by American troops to what happened when Israel abruptly left Gaza some time back: no structure, much suffering.

So Cole advocated a “negotiated withdrawal” – moving as quickly as possible to bring Sunnis into the government followed by a rapid draw-down of American forces.

Robert GatesThe point, he might say, isn’t just “getting the Iraqis to step up,” since the government mainly represents one side of the conflict. Nor could it be more or fewer troops to temporarily intimidate bad guys. The point is addressing the source of the civil war.

So look below at what was in the news today: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in Iraq, putting that very issue on the table. Feel my amazement.

Dare we hope that finally someone is addressing causes rather than symptoms?

[And by the way, guess where I read this good news about America: Al-Jazeera!]

clipped from english.aljazeera.net
Gates, on his third visit to Iraq since taking office, said he had spoken to Nuri al-Maliki, the prime minister, who is a Shia, about “reaching out to the Sunnis” to end the bloodletting that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis. …
Before leaving Baghdad’s secure Green Zone by US military helicopter on Friday, Gates met Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi president, and Tareq al-Hashimi and Adel Abdel Mahdi, his two vice-presidents. They discussed the “importance of national reconciliation” to end the Shia-Sunni conflict, a statement from Talabani’s office said.”They also discussed the accountability and reconcilation law which aims to promote reconciliation and national unity among Iraqis.”The law is refinement of the controversial de-Baathification law. It aims to reintegrate former supporters of Saddam Hussein into public life in a bid to reduce the bitterness fuelling the Sunni anti-American campaign.

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Related posts: Understanding US withdrawal from Iraq, Juan Cole in The Nation: How to Get Out of Iraq
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Written by Monte

April 21, 2007 at 3:47 pm

One Response

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  1. Monte, and all of your blog readers, here is the web site for the Walk for Refugees event to be held in May. My son and I are going to participate….it looks like a real grass roots movement and most if not all of the money goes to refugees for tents and other provisions. There are events in Omaha and Iowa City and perhaps other parts of the country as well. I’d like any feedback to this event if anyone has information about the organization. Thanks…and, thanks for the link to the information about Iraq…it truly is good news. I think that national reconciliation will have to take place before peace ever comes to that region. Perhaps the US can play a positive role in that regard.

    Web site: http://www.hiketohelprefugees.com/index.aspx

    Dan Henderson

    April 22, 2007 at 1:25 pm


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