Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Enterprise Resilience Management Blog, written by Stephen DeAnglis and edited by Bradd Hayes, links to a recent article in The Economist thatlooks forward to New Sudan. Both The Economist and the ERMB articles are worth reading, but I want to use this opportunity to extend my comparison of Palestine to Iraq.
Within a decade of 9/11, the world may see the division of the Palestinian territories into Fatah and Hamas states, the division of Iraq into Shia, Kurdish, and Sunni Arab regions, and the division of Sudan into "New Sudan" in the south, Darfur in the west, and a rump Khartoum government in the north.
This is exactly what is needed. 9/11 was a sympton of a malfunctioning Sunni Arab civilization combined with the Sunni Arab's world to divert feedback from itself onto others. Our responses to 9/11 have served to redirect that feedback back to the source, destabilizing a Sunni Arab system already out of kilter instead of accepting a "stability" which generates violence for us.
That's a good thing.
Update: Tom adds his thoughts.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Democracy Now recently interviewed Nir Rosen (hat-tip to Democratic Underground and This Modern World). Mr. Rosen is reflexively sympathetic toward America's enemies, but otherwise his analysis is accurate.
This lept out at me:
Well, when we think of the Iraqi refugee crisis, we have to think of the crisis that people in the region think of in relation to that one, and that’s the Palestinian refugee crisis. In 1948, up to 800,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in Palestine [sic] to make way for what became Israel. They went to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan. There were put in refugee camps. Eventually, after a few years, they were militarized, mobilized. They had their own militias. They were engaged in attacks, trying to liberate their homes. And they eventually were instrumentalized by the various governments, whether Lebanon, Syria, Jordan. Different groups used them. And they were massacred, as well, by the Lebanese, by the Jordanians. They contributed to destabilization of Jordan, of Lebanon, as well.
And I think you will see something similar happening with the Iraqis, because we have much larger numbers, approaching three million, and many of them already have links with militias back home, of course, because to survive in Iraq you need some militia to protect you. And there are long-established smuggling routes for weapons, for fighters, etc.
And add to that the very sensitive sectarian issue in Syria, in Jordan. The Syrian regime is a minority regime perceived by radical Sunnis to be a heretical. Syria is a majority Sunni country. The majority of the refugees are Sunni. Syria has a good relationship with a Shia-dominated Iraqi government. There have been various Islamist opposition groups who have sought to overthrow their government in Syria. Jordan, as well, has its own Islamist opposition. We’re likely eventually to see, as Sunnis are pushed more and more out of Baghdad and as the militias are pushed into the Anbar Province, that they might link up with Islamist groups in Syria, in Jordan, in Lebanon.
Two themes, both of which I've described before.
First, the Sunni Arabs have now lost a second country. The first time, they lost Palestine to survivors of the Holocaust. Now, they are losing it to heathens living in the rear-end of the Arab world, the Shia. The Iraq War was about feedback, about demonstrating the consequences of running an entire civilization into the ground. There is no reason to think that the effects of losing Iraq will be any less than the consequences of losing Palestine.
Second, Islam is the answer. Since decolonization, the Sunni Arab states that have gone most off the rails have adopted some form of socialist secular nationalism, such as the Baath Party, Naserism, etc. Surprisingly, banishing God and the market doesn't do much for national health. Because Sharia incorporates market mechanisms, Islamist parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood appear to be in the best position to lead their countries forward.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Every Sunni Arab member of Iraq's cabinet has now quit. This same community also boycotted the national Iraqi elections and currently hosts al-Ba'ath and al-Qa'eda terrorists.
If a community can ever speak in one voice, the Iraqi Sunni Arabs are so speaking now: No to democracy! No to peace! No to Iraq!.
This isn't surprising. Iraqi's Sunni Arabs make-up about 15% of the population (maybe less), but are accusted to living on wealth and power stolen from the other 85% of Iraqis. Violently unwilling to give way to a democratic government, they have and they still fight democratization with boycotts, violence, and terror.
Denying the Sunni Arabs their anti-democratic victory would only be fair for Iraq, it would help transform the greater Sunni Arab world, demonstrating yet again the bankruptcy of anti-freedom, anti-western ideologies. Since the beginning of decolonization, the Sunni Arab world has fallen farther and farther behind
Ultimately, the Iraq War is not about "justice" or "revenge" but about feedback: irrefutable evidence of weakness combined with the fact that the post-1945 strategies of the Sunni Arabs (fascism, terrorism, disconnectedness, etc) do not work.
Refusing to save Iraq's Sunni Arabs from themselves, allowing Iraq to disintegrate in such a way that the Sunni Arabs are left only with the barren desert -- is the surest, the easiest, and the best way forward.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
With Iraq's response to every outrage and bombing, the thousand-year victorybecomes more complete. In November, less than one million Iraqis (nearly all of whom were part of the Sunni Arab regime) had left the country. Now the number is more than two million.
At the same time, the parliament of Iraq wishes to be consulted before the UN reauthorizes the US Mandate over Iraq. The civil war which Iraqi Sunni rejectionists started, to beat the people of Iraq into submission, is all but won by the people of Iraq.
It is hard to imagine a path where they could return to power, though many still advocate paying danegeld to baathists and the antidemocratic tribes, reasoning that cool self-interest on the part of the Sunni Arab tribes which would have prevented this civil war will spontaneously appear when money is put on the tabel.
America does not need to be in Iraq. We should leave Iraq. We merely need to provide money, materiel, and air cover to Iraq. American forces would be better spend in intensively building up Kuwait and Kurdistan (the so-called "2K Solution") than directly fighting a civil war which is now a foregone conclusion.
President Bush, declare victory. Because you have won. America has won. Iraq has won.
And those who respond to ballots with bullets have lost.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
The discussion at Mountainrunner over the destruction of Iraq's educational system continues. However, in my haste to poste I left our some hyperlinks which should have been included. Below is a snipper of the conversation, between nykrindc and myself:
In our own country, we essentially allowed the confederates to do what you state, that’s not what I’m arguing we should have done.
Indeed. However, a partial victory is better than a partial defeat. Allowing the 85% non-Sunni-Arab part of Iraq to integrate with the world is a partial victory. Going back on the Big Bang by "stabilizing" the country with a tinkered version of the old regime is a partial defeat.
All it did was alienate people who were trying to become part of the political process.
Too simplistic, I think. Among other effects, it integrated people who were fearful of a political process dominated by Sunni Arabs and prevented counterrevolutionaries from holding important political office.
No, having Sunnis partake in the process would have done much to quell the Sunni insurgency which at the time was considered the biggest threat to the viability of the country. This would have aided us in addressing al Qaeda much earlier by moving us in the direction that we have moved only recently under Gen. Petreaus; allying with Sunni tribes and some militias to fight against al Qaeda.
al Qaeda and Islamism generally are feedback from the ghastly systems that pervade the Sunni portions of the Gap. They are symptoms of a disease --- the vermin of a swamp -- rather than the disease or the swamp itself.
Cynically allying with the old powers-that-be to dampen feedback is hardly a new strategy: indeed, it accurately reflects decades of practice by Saddam, Asad, Mubarek, the Saudis, etc.
Certainly, we should kill Qaedists. The Shia are doing this quite well. However, maintaining a bad system in order to prevent bad feedback is a backwards strategy.
This would have allowed us to undermine the AQI strategy of starting stoking the fires for civil war. Their strategy succeeded, ours failed and after Askariya, it became much more difficult to get what we wanted.
The Golden Mosque was a turning point in Iraq. It was the moment where the necessity of the Shia militias became obvious, and where American inability to defend Iraqis from Sunni terroriszts become painfully clear.
So much so, that rather than the Sunni insurgency our own military recognized the Shiite militias as the greatest danger to the viability of any future Iraqi state.
After last summer, the correlation-of-forces turned decisively against the Iraqi Sunni Arabs. All sides see that, no matter who wins, they lose. Therefore, it's not surprising that we see them as a political piece to be played rather than as a former regime that can once again grasp power.
Read the rest at Mountainrunner, or read below for my comment.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Death Cab for Cutie. 2005. Someday you will be loved. Plans. Lyrics available.
Sons are important. Songs are about human conflict, meaningful struggle, and often even love. Not just lust -- the mad desire for a thing -- but love -- the longing to provide goods to another that cannot be denied by anyone.
Earlier, I highlighted four songs by Guerrillas (19-2000, Clint Eastwood, Dare, and Feel Good, Inc.). Today I want to look at Someday You Will Be Loved, by Death Cab for Cutie.
"Soemday you will be loved" is about abandoning love, about the limits of what humans can give. As the Iraq War winds down, its lesson about love abandoned applies to the population who will love any hope of real love if we leave: Iraq's Sunni Arabs. For more than a year, prolonging the war has only bought them time. But for years, Sunni Arab culture, inspired by its Naser-Arafat habit of doing exactly the wrong thing, has aggravated the situation.
We will leave Iraq. There will ethnic cleansing. The Sunni Arabs will not experience love in our generation, or perhaps our lifetime. But as the global economy continues to expand, and as the Afro-Islamic Gap is eventually shrunked, someday they will be loved.
I once knew a girl
In the years of my youth
With eyes like the summer
All beauty and truth
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
"The Jihad is now against the Shias, not the Americans," The Guardian, 13 January 2007, http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1989397,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=1 (from Digg).
In spite of his trecherous, appeasing incompetence over the last three years, even George W. Bush couldn't screw up the Iraq War too badly.
Our enemies are scattered, dispirited, confused, and surrounded:
Rami was explaining how the insurgency had changed since the first heady days after the US invasion. "I used to attack the Americans when that was the jihad. Now there is no jihad. Go around and see in Adhamiya [the notorious Sunni insurgent area] - all the commanders are sitting sipping coffee; it's only the young kids that are fighting now, and they are not fighting Americans any more, they are just killing Shia. There are kids carrying two guns each and they roam the streets looking for their prey. They will kill for anything, for a gun, for a car and all can be dressed up as jihad."
Now all we need to do is leave, and we win:
He was more despondent than angry. "We Sunni are to blame," he said. "In my area some ignorant al-Qaida guys have been kidnapping poor Shia farmers, killing them and throwing their bodies in the river. I told them: 'This is not jihad. You can't kill all the Shia! This is wrong! The Shia militias are like rabid dogs - why provoke them?' "
Then he said: "I am trying to talk to the Americans. I want to give them assurances that no one will attack them in our area if they stop the Shia militias from coming."
This man who had spent the last three years fighting the Americans was now willing to talk to them, not because he wanted to make peace but because he saw the Americans as the lesser of two evils. He was wrestling with the same dilemma as many Sunni insurgent leaders, beginning to doubt the wisdom of their alliance with al-Qaida extremists.
Another insurgent commander told me: "At the beginning al-Qaida had the money and the organisation, and we had nothing." But this alliance soon dragged the insurgents and then the whole Sunni community into confrontation with the Shia militias as al-Qaida and other extremists massacred thousands of Shia civilians. Insurgent commanders such as Abu Omar soon found themselves outnumbered and outgunned, fighting organised militias backed by the Shia-dominated security forces.
We can admire our enemy in Iraq, just as we can admire our enemies from decades ago. But should as it would have been idiotic to join the Axis powers in 1945, because of their fighting spirit, so it would be insane to stab our allies ni the back in order to save the Iraqi Sunni Arabs.
This is victory.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Barnett, T.P.M. (2006). Treating Iran as a logical swing asset. Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog. January 10, 2007. Available online: http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2007/01/treating_iran_as_logical_swing.html.
Tom Barnett gets it!:
Great piece by Luttwak exploring how sometimes (in Iraq) we need to be pro-Shiia and not be afraid of making Sunni states nervous and sometimes (in Lebanon vis-a-vis Syria) we need to be pro-Sunni and not worry about making Shiia leaders (Syria, Iran) nervous.
Now, where Luttwak doesn't go is where I'm dying to go: play Iran more as a scary balancer. The more we dialogue (none yet) with Iran on Iraq, the more we freak the Saudis and the easier it becomes to splinter Syria because we're basically playing prisoner's dilemma with both Damascus and Iran--as in, who's gonna bite first because we'll go harder on the other next.
I agree completely, and back in August I wrote that a Shia Iraq and a Sunni Syria are exactly what we need.
Keep the Big Bang moving. Support Democracy in the Middle East. Support a Shia Iraq, and a Sunni Syria.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
"Iraq-based Militant Group Praises Jordanian Gunsman," Irish Examiner, 5 September 2006, http://www.irishexaminer.com/breaking/story.asp?j=4132155&p=4y3zy7x&n=4132247&x= (from Democratic Underground).
"Iraq Parliament to Debate Federal Break-Up," AFP, 5 September 2006, http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060905/wl_mideast_afp/iraq (from Democratic Undergound).
Those who support terrorism
An Iraq-based Muslim militant group today praised a Jordanian gunman for shooting foreign tourists visiting a popular Roman ruin in Amman, according to a message posted in its name on the internet.
The Mujahedeen Shura Council in Iraq, which claimed responsibility for several kidnappings of foreigners in Iraq, urged Muslim youth to follow the gunman’s steps.
It said the attack was launched on an “unblessed gathering of Jews and Christians for roaming freely in the countries of Islam”.
Those who oppose federalism and democracy
At the top of the agenda was the controversial issue of whether to allow Iraq's provinces to merge into larger autonomous regions, a move which some Sunni Arab lawmakers fear could tear the country apart.
Other groups, however, strongly support a plan which would create virtually independent zones in the oil-rich Shiite south and Kurdish north, and leave Sunni Arabs economically isolated in the barren western desert.
The Iraqi Shia and Iraqi Kurds are strategic partners of the United States. The Iraqi Sunni Arab population is not.
It's time to cease pretending that all populations are naturally friendly to us, and that appeasing Baathists and Qaedists is the route to victory.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
"Juan Cole 'counts' civilian casualties in Iraq," by Tigerhawk, Tigerhawk, 25 October 2005, http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2005/10/juan-cole-counts-civilian-casualties.html (from Larwyn).
After quoting Juan Cole quoting alternet:
Iraq Body Count, Reuters says, estimates that 38 Iraqis die in violence every day. Over thirty-five years, that would amount to nearly 500,000 dead. In fact, it is estimated that the Baath party killed 300,000 Iraqis, so the current rate seems to be greater than the Baath rate. (The number of civilians killed by the Baath is probably in fact exaggerated. Only a few thousand bodies have been recovered from mass graves so far.)
... Tigerhawk attacks Cole for switching numbers from people the Baath killed (pre-War) to people killed generally:
So why does Cole insist that the Ba'athists aren't responsible for the current casualties when he quite plainly does not think that foreign fighters are the main culprits, and why does Reuters mislead its readers about the proportion of the casualties inflicted by Americans? Surely the casual observer -- somebody who missed out on a first rate education at a top university, for example -- would say that the people who detonate car bombs in markets or suicide belts on buses are themselves responsible for the murders they commit. Heck, such a dimwit might even think that the ununiformed insurgent is responsible for the deaths of the human shields that he uses to hide from the counterinsurgency. And if our casual observer is a real meathead, he would assume that if insurgents blow up systems for pumping water, they are the ones responsible for the dehydration and disease that follows.
Tigerhawk is correct. Dr. Cole switches criteria from people the Baath killed to people who died by violence, so that is someone was killed by the Baath in 2002 he blames the Baath, but if someone was killed by the Baath in 2004 he blames the free Iraqi government.