With all the troops in the world, America could not forge a new national compact for Iraq. That is a task for the Iraqi leadership. The outlines of the deal that needs to be made are by now obvious. Iraq would end up a loose confederation, but would divide its oil revenue so that all three regions were invested in the new nation. A broad amnesty would be granted to all those who have waged war, which means mainly the Sunni insurgents, but also members of Shia death squads. Government and state-sector jobs, the largest share of employment in Iraq, would be distributed to all three communities, which would entail a reversal of the postinvasion purges that swept up, for example, schoolteachers who happened to be members of the Baath Party. Finally, and perhaps most urgently, the Shia militias must be disbanded or, if that becomes impossible, incorporated and tamed into national institutions.
The reason we have the insurgency we have today is because of Sunni Arab terrorists. Whether Baathi, Qaedi, or just plain tribalist, since the fall of Saddam Hussein the Iraqi people have been terrorized by cells hosted by the Sunni Arab population. Sunni Arabs are a small minority in Iraq…
… yet that population’s enthusiastic support for murderous tyranny has sparked the Citizen’s Watch organizations we see today. Because these vigilence organizations are actually effective at ending terror — in a way that appeasement is not — the chattering classes of course come out against them:
What is equally obvious is that such a deal does not seem to be at hand. The Shia leadership remains extremely resistant to any concessions to its former Sunni overlords. The Shia politicians I met when in Baghdad, even the most urbane and educated, seemed dead set against sharing power in any real sense. In an interview with Reuters last week, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki also said he believed that if Iraqi troops were left to their own devices, they could establish order in six months in Iraq. It is not difficult to imagine what he means: Shia would crush Sunni, and that would be that. This notionâ€”that military force, rather than political accommodation, could defeat the insurgencyâ€”is widely shared among senior Shia leaders. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the single largest political party in Parliament, has made similar statements in the past. While they will occasionally say the right things, as Maliki did in his first week in office, their reluctance to fund projects in Sunni areas, or to investigate death squads, suggests they have little appetite for broader national reconciliation
I’m glad Prime Minister Maliki stated what I said earlier this year: al Qaeda in Iraq loses as soon as the Americans leave. al Qaeda in Iraq survives only as long as we stay in Iraq.
1. The Sunni Arab population, a small minority, hosts cells which terrorist the 85% of the population that suffered under Saddam Hussein
2. Western appeasement of terrorists has only increased the misery of Iraqis
3. Everyday Iraqis have formed vigilance committees to protect themselves, their families, and their property — something America has been unwilling to do
4. Western pundits conclude the best policy going forward is appeasement
Zakaria’s “strategy” is as morally bankrupt as America’s current strategy in Iraq: appease, appease, appease.