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    25 May 2005

    Iraq News

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    Juan Cole has been asked how do we fix Iraq. Kind of a dumb question; It is beyond repair or at least in a time frame any American wants to here. He basically concludes that we will be there for another decade. I'm not an expert but I know more about the region than the average American, I'd say that 10 years is about right.
    In an ideal world, the United States would relinquish Iraq to a United Nations military command, and the world would pony up the troops needed to establish order in the country in return for Iraqi good will in post-war contract bids. But that is not going to happen for many reasons. George W. Bush is a stubborn man and Iraq is his project, and he is not going to give up on it. And, by now the rest of the world knows what would await its troops in Iraq, and political leaders are not so stupid as to send their troops into a meat grinder.

    Therefore, I conclude that the United States is stuck in Iraq for the medium term, and perhaps for the long term. The guerrilla war is likely to go on a decade to 15 years. Given the basic facts, of capable, trained and numerous guerrillas, public support for them from Sunnis, access to funding and munitions, increasing civil turmoil, and a relatively small and culturally poorly equipped US military force opposing them, led by a poorly informed and strategically clueless commander-in-chief who has made himself internationally unpopular, there is no near-term solution.

    In the long run, say 15 years, the Iraqi Sunnis will probably do as the Lebanese Maronites did, and finally admit that they just cannot remain in control of the country and will have to compromise. That is, if there is still an Iraq at that point.

    It hasn't been a fun week in Iraq, the signs of a civil war are surfacing. It will be hard for the MSM to ignore it for much longer. It even made it into one report yesterday
    In the northern city of Tal Afar, there were reports that militants were in control and that Shiites and Sunnis were fighting in the streets, a day after two car bombs killed at least 20 people. Police Capt. Ahmed Hashem Taki said Tal Afar was experiencing "civil war." Journalists were blocked from entering the city of 200,000.

    To further this pending disaster, southern Iraq is planning to form a semi-autonomous state.
    As Iraq begins writing its new constitution, leaders in the country's southern regions are pushing aggressively to unite their three provinces into an oil-rich, semi-autonomous state, a plan that some worry could solidify Iraq's sectarian tensions, create fights over oil revenues and eventually split the nation.
    The region is rich with resources and trade opportunities. Dhiqar could expand its trading business through Basra's port; Maysan could expand the other two provinces' trade with Iran. Basra would be a more powerful city, with more oil, agriculture, trade and tourism under its control.

    The discussion has created tension in Basra between Shiites and the Sunni Arab minority there. Some Sunnis already have left because they think the proposed new region excludes them. That response has some fretting that a state defined partly on religion could fuel the sectarianism that's engulfed the country since the Jan. 30 parliamentary elections.

    Finally, the main focus of the MSM yesterday was a report that theal-Qaida in Iraq leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was injured. This may sound like good news, but what happens when he goes? The answer is he will be replaced and he will become a martyr for the resistance. So basically this issue creates an illusion of good news that is really bad in reality.

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