Let Them Lose

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.

One thought on “Let Them Lose”

  1. Dan,

    In line with this argument, I was wondering what your opinions were regarding the nascent Sunni-American cooperation, which has allowed peace to flourish in Ramadi and more generally across al-Anbar.

    It seems this decision by them is actually them attempting to 'save themselves', to take control of their own situation and their own security. Honestly, I have nothing against the Sunnis for bailing on Maliki because Maliki is useless. It isn't just the Sunnis who see him as a Persian agent, but it is the Sadrists as well. Isn't it possible (and here I admit I'm reaching) that the Sunnis pulling out is a positive, because it will hasten the fall of the Maliki government and encourage a new Iraqi coalition with Sunnis and Sadrists at its core?

  2. Steve,

    Great comment!

    Maliki is an Iranian client. That's a good thing. [1] The Islamic Republic of Iran has old and good ties with the anti-Qaeda, anti-Baath parties in Iraq: The Kurds, the Dawa, and the recently-renamed Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (no longer the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, as they consider the Revolution to have been successful). Iran is so much more normal than its neighbors that only one (Turkey) can challenge it a “dysfunctional state that works.”

    The Sunnis makes up 15% of Iraq and tend not to like elections. Sadr is the Al Sharpton of Iraq, vocal but with nearly no institutional support except his own backyard. The relationship between the Sunnis and Sadr is something like the relationship between the Nationalist and Inkatha Freedom Parties in apartheid South Africa — useful to each other, but never friends.

    That said, it's certainly possible that the Maliki government would collapse, which would allow the de facto division of Iraq that I support…

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/08/21/a-new-middle-east-part-ii-iran.html

  3. Speaking as men – red-blooded men, which men (and the women who lead them around by their noses) are more likely to be the best government for Iraq?

    The Iraqi men who want us to be there or the Iraqi men who do not want us to be there?

  4. Non-rhetorical question: where DO the Sadrists fall on the subject of Iran? I've heard them described many times as being nationalists, yet didn't Sadr himself take refuge in Iran when we turned the heat up to high?

  5. Michael,

    Sadr competes with both SIIC (the old SCIRI) and Dawa, who are older and more reliable clients of Iran. (Additionally, Dawa has ties to Britain.) This means that Sadr can't rely completely on Tehran, as the Islamic Republic is perfectly happy to deal with the powerful and reliable partners of the past.

    Further, Sadr's support base is poorer and less educated, so less likely to think in strategic terms. Shia with memory recall that the whole reason that Arabs are in Kurdistan is Saddam's effort to divide everyone but the Sunni Arabs, while Sadr plays the simpler card of co-religionists in trouble.

    Sadr has to play a riskier game than either SIIC or Dawa because of lack of guaranteed support, and is able to play a riskier game because of a less educated base. Otherwise Sadr's basic position is identical.

    sonofsamphm1c ,

    The answer, of course, is that we want those who do not want our enemies to be there to rule.

  6. That would lend credence to the notion that the best government for Iraq would be a nationalist coalition of Sadrists, non-Al Qaeda Sunnis (probably non-Baathist, too) and Kurds. It wouldn't be perfect, but a government that's willing and able to tell ALL foreigners- including us- to fuck off is probably the only thing that can prevent a rather nasty break up.

  7. I'm just glad Americans of today weren't during the American revolution. The Tories would have won.

  8. Michael,

    Lifting up minorities against a majority is an old colonial tricky, through Machiavelli argued against such divide-and-conquer tactics because it makes ruling easier in easy times and harder in hard times. Why is it appropriate in the case of Iraq?

    (Also note that the Kurds are clients of the Iranians — Tehran has a better relationship with her own Kurds than do Ankara, Damascus, or the old Baghdad, and shares common fears with them of the Turks and the Arabs.)

    sonofsamphm1c,

    I'm not aware General Pulaski's neck being slit by General Washington. Nor “Death to Foreigners!” in G.W.'s collected works.

  9. Vigorous discussions like this is why I should check back often.

    I agree with Michael on the Sunni-Sadr alliance. And I wouldn't discount the force that is Sadr either. While his political base is uneducated, Sadr is quite savvy. A NYT article on July 19, “Cleric Switches Tactics to Meet Changes in Iraq” describes how the Sadrists are expanding their influence among the people in Baghdad at the same time distancing from Maliki and reaching out to Sunnis, stressing Iraqi nationalism, which endures despite all claims to its death. Sadr is really the center of Iraqi politics and is far stronger than Dawa, which doesn't even have a militia to protect itself and its clientel. Further, Sadr and the Sunnis have two things in common: both are ardent Iraqi nationalists, and both support centralized government. Dawa-SIIC share nothing in common with these identities and interests, except they all hate al-Qaeda. The problem with Sadr, however, is that his organization is too networked, and so renegade cells operate as Mahdi Army when they really behave like pure criminals because there is little control from the center. I suspect this is who the Iranians are arming with EPFs and other weapons used to go after MNF and protect their criminal base.

    Sadr wants us to leave and so do the Sunnis. Do you think they would have joined up with us if they didn't hear the Dems in the background telegraphing our exit? As we step back in the coming months, we should foster the Sadr-Sunni alliance, and help Sadr establish control over his organization by making peace with the Iranians, which would undercut both Dawa-SIIC and renegade Mahdi cells. Why leave Iraq in the hands of Iranian proxies when we can just make peace with the Iranians and put Iraq back in the hands of Iraqis?

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