Response to Subadei

Subadei was kind enough to post about my earlier Iraq thoughts.

As the power vacuum created by US withdrawal is quickly filled by the Shia we’ll see a down turn in sectarian violence not the ethnic cleansing many fear. Once they have political control of Iraq what do the Shiites stand to gain through annihilatory tactics waged against the Sunni minority? Such actions would certainly provoke Jordan and Syria as the refugee flood becomes a tidal wave. The Sauds are already waving their fists in response to Sunni deaths at the hands of Shiites and their perceived threat of Iran’s growing influence.

Actually I don’t see the Shia filling the power vacuum created when the US leaves. The Iraqi Sunni are quite adept at wreaking havoc and I think that would increase with the US gone. The threat we pose is political, whereas the Shia threat is existential.

I also think I misused the word “state” inaccurately. Most likely the three areas would be a Shia state in the South, a Kurdish one in the north, and a wild, violent region in the middle. I don’t see the Shia (large, unorganized, and ununited) being able to impose a monopoly of violence against a more organized and much more united (smaller in size) Sunni region. Especially if the Saudis and AQ are able to make spoiling attacks and fund the warring factions.

3 comments

  1. Steve.
    I’m actually out of town on biz at the moment and haven’t got a lot of time. I’ll have a reply upon my return later this week.

  2. Later this week turned out a bit earlier than expected. Side note: Maine is actually colder than VT.

    Given the fervent upscale in sectarian violence the last few months I’d argue the philosophical unity (both Sunni and Shia) is well established. The foreign element (Saudi/Iran) both during US occupation and after will likely serve to further unification as whatever inner-sectarian divisions that exist (especially among the Shia) evaporate through a want for the cash/weaponry provided for “resistance.”

    As far as the Shia filling the American redeployment vacuum:

    From the Iraqi majority standpoint:

    The current Iraqi “government” is, decidedly, Shia in terms of potency. Maliki’s interventions on behalf of the Shia “resistance” (Mahdi) are well chronicled and conceivably have spared him assassination or attempt there of.

    Iraq’s most cogent popular power is Muqtada al Sadr. From a realistic standpoint he is the pivot point for Shia cohesion should the US redeploy. In essence, he will serve the funnel for Iranian support (not dominance, but support; a very important distinction) and popular unity.

    The combination of al Sadr’s popular movement with Maliki’s political footprint leads me to believe that the Shiites will form a cohesive unity that will fill the US vacuum.

  3. “The Iraqi Sunni are quite adept at wreaking havoc and I think that would increase with the US gone.”

    The Tutsis were quite adept at wrecking wealth during the European colonization of Rwanda, as well.

    Life sucks for unpopular, 15% minorities sans powerful, foreign, military protection.

    During 2003 the Sunnis had a real chance, as the path of the Afrikaners in South Africa appeared to be available for them. However, it looks like they have taken that off the table.

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