While it’s common now to hear reports of the surge working, I’m curious to know how much the drop in violence correlates to the ethnic cleansing that’s been happening in Iraq for the past few years. All of the Iraqi on Iraqi violence is purposeful, i.e. designed to drive the Sunni out of Shia neighborhoods and vice versa. What if the militias and insurgents are just wrapping up the ethnic cleansing and there’s no one handy to kill?
I imagine it’s hard to find mixed neighborhoods these days, which would make the murders and bombings more difficult to commit. A good way to test the theory would be to see if inter-ethnic violence increases as extra-ethnic violence decreases. The recent tribal push against AQ is some evidence of that as without readily available Shia AQ has nothing to offer the Sunni tribes.
So many questions, so little data. I guess another way of putting it is “what if Iraq completed it’s civil war while everyone was debating the meaning of “Civil War”? (note, I still dislike the term to refer to the conflict, Gang war is the better term.).
In agree Gang War is a more effective term yet only so long as the US maintains a “controlling” force in Baghdad and beyond. Minus this grand wicket Iraq would (IMO) dissolve into a (again IMO) much needed civil war.
Why civil war? To decide the controlling party, of course. The idea that Iraq can coalesce into some western democracy in a scant four or five years is patently stupid. Democratic reform that leaves behind oligarchy nearly always comes from within the society in question. Portugal, Singapore (the latter not yet a “true” democracy,) and Chile seem paramount examples.
What the US needs in Iraq is not a democracy (see Gaza for further evidence) but a friendly oligarchy along the lines of Pakistan (only more stable.)
Why we don’t invest, rather than resist, in the majority is baffling.
Further: The surge may be “working” because each side of the coin is stockpiling and awaiting US redeployment.
On the other hand, the longer there is a stable status quo, the more valuable stability becomes, and the more peaceable the divorce can be.
Such an uncertain future…
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