Monday, October 15, 2007

The Benefits of Ethnological Reboot

Tom Barnett notes Patreaus appears to be detaching Iraqi Shia from the worst of the militias, like he earlier helped detach Iraqi Sunni Arabs from al Qaeda in Iraq:

Interesting. To extent this repeats like Al-Qaeda in Anbar, Petraeus may be pulling off a double.


Like the Anbar Awakening, Patreaus appears to be smart enough to recognize victory when it presents itself. (This is no small accomplishment.) In particular, now that the Shia appear to have captured the seat of the Caliphs from their Sunni Arab rivals, the main benefit of the Shia militias (clear out Sunni houses, protection from Sunni terrorism) have gone away.

Here's a second possible explanation: the Shia have basically won the Battle of Baghdad. Given their victory plus the additional security that has resulted from the surge of U.S. forces, there simply isn't the need to rely on militias, especially thuggish ones.


Ethnological reboot -- successfully completed ethnic cleansing -- can provide the social harmony a nation needs for growth. It looks like Iraq is getting close to possessing that public good.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Ethno-Sectarian Violence Maps of the Petraeus Report

Courtesy of Zen Pundit and the Small Wars Council, I was able to read the testimony and examine the presentation of the report that General Petraeus, of the Multinational Force - Iraq, gave to the Congress. The fifth slide is titled "Ethno-Sectarian" violence, and contains maps of Sunni v. Shia attacks on December 2006, February 2007, May 2007, and August 2007.


The Battle of Baghdad


What's strange about it is that the neighborhood map does not change. The detailed color-coded representation of Baghdad, with Green for majority Shia, blue for majority Sunni, and orange for mixed appears to be the same now as it was twenty months ago.


Detailed view


Everywhere, of course, one reads about the etnic cleansing of Baghdad. So what gives? I'm assuming that those who prepared the slides for Petraeus used the last available census information for generating the ethnic neighborhood maps, but alternatively (and less likely, in my opinion) the discussion of ongoing ethnic cleansing could be overblown.


A virtual Baghdad?


Finally, presuming the violence in Baghdad is leading to ethnically cleansed neighborhoods, it would be interesting to compare a real time-sequenced map of Baghdad with theoretical work on homogenization and inter-group tournaments that's now appearing in the academic literature.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Beyond the Collapse of China

"The Sky is Falling and other Assorted Prophecies of Doom," by Jing, Those Who Dare, 14 June 2005, http://thosewhodare.blogspot.com/2005/06/sky-is-falling-and-other-assorted.html.

Nicely following up Beyond the Collapse of Russia, Jing starts a wonderful discussion on the (dis)unity of China

It would be folly to dismiss the impacts of CCTV in forming a common cultural framework for what are otherwise isolated villages. A Henan farmer can watch the same programming as a factory worker in Jilin and form a rapport and identity even amidst what is an otherwise frivolous past time. They would no longer today accept a divided China no more than American would seriously accept the dissolution of the Union.


I was less than impressed

To parallel:

"It would be folly to dismiss the impact of Eurovision in forming a common cultural framework for what are otherwise isolated communities. A French farmer can swatch the same programming as a factory worker in Romania and form a rapport and identity even amidst what is an otherwise frivolous past time. They would no longer today accept a divided Europe no more than America


Curzon, who knows a thing or two about Chinese disunity...

medium_china-thumb_sm.jpg


...takes the attack even farther

Don't overestimate the value of ethnic majorities. Russians were the majority ethnicity in Kazakhstan and Belarus, and had near-pluralities in Ukraine, Lithuania, and Turkmenistan. That didn't stop any of these states becoming independent when the Soviet state collapsed, and the Russian populations have gone back to the motherland in droves.


Read on!