Finally, some good news from Iraq
Middle 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.
The 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!]
Related posts: Understanding US withdrawal from Iraq, Juan Cole in The Nation: How to Get Out of Iraq
Tags: Robert+Gates, Iraq+national+reconciliation, de-Baathification, Sunnis, Shi’ites, Nuri-al-Maliki, Jalal+Talibani, Juan+Cole, negotiated+withdrawal, Al+Jazeera, Monte Asbury