Tag Archives: sunni arabs

From Iraq to Sudan

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.

Another Trifurcation?

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.

From Palestine to Iraq

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.

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.

Declare Victory, because Victory is won

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.

Our Victorious Ally

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.

The End of the Former Iraqi Bureaucratic Class

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.

What I meant was that their unanimous decision to boycott the elections was a mistake. The fact that they sought to return to the democratic process, at least for those that did, represented an admission of that mistake.

I understand your meaning. It’s clear the unanimous boycott was a mistake a strategic mistake, and that the current paritcipation is an attempt to leverage power through democratic means. However, we must be clear that merely using a democratic channel for power does not mean that one supports democracy. For instance:

They did not concentrate on just bombs rather; many sought to get back into the political process, others did not.

Indeed. A good comparison may be made between the armed and political wings of the PIRA — two complementary methods to power.

We agree on many things Dan, but we also disagree on many more. Here for example, you assert that this was their plan. This seems to be based on your view of all Sunnis as being part and parcel of the old Iraqi order. That is a point where we disagree, hence our differing perspectives.

We seem to disagree at heart over one thing: the nature of the altruism of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs.

If one assumes that they will give their (and their families’) blood & treasure for the good of an Iraqi state, then your argument is more reasonable. Much of what you’ve written (they want to “return to work,” etc.) implies that nationalistic intertia is their central motivation.

If one assumes that the Iraqi Sunni Arabs will protect their (and their families) blood and treasure from other factions in Iraq, then my argument is more reasonable. Much of what I’ve written (that they wish to maintain their privileges, etc.) implies that in-group cooperation is their central motivation.

You are again assuming that all Sunnis (or the majority of them) wanted to impose a Sunni supremacist government over the rest of Iraq.

In other words, they wish to keep what they had for all their lives until we intruded. (Or, at least, reap the material benefits of such a supremacy.) This is a natural human motivation, well backed up by history and psychology. Machiavelli wrote of this (men will sooner forgive the murder of their father than the theft of their inheritance, &c), and in the laboratory researchers into prospect theory constantly confirm this.

Even here, the argument of Sunni Arab supremacy cannot be made wholly since Baathism was much more nationalist and sought to undermine ethnic and religious differences in the pursuit of a national identity.

As an ideology, Baathism is a form of confession-neutral Arab National Socialism. Like European fascism before it, it mostly ignores the traditional world in favor of racial solidarity.

However, as practiced, Baathism ends up being a support mechanism for those traditionally well-educated minorities that first embraced it. In Iraq it serves the Sunni Arab minority, while in Syria it serves the Alawite minority.

Maintaining that Saddam was a true believer in Baathism is like attempting to analyze Stalin’s foreign policy through the lens of international class struggle.

It wasn’t only about oil; it was about modernizing the state and importing Western education and lifestyles. As Mountain Runner pointed out, “Iraq [was] a country very much connected (pre-sanctions) with the west and a highly educated, a middle class.”

Indeed — the Arab middle east has been in decline since 1945, and the farther back in time to go to then the better and more connected life was. Antimaterialism has not been the problem of the middle east (few Arab tyrants have opposed wealth & modernism).

Indeed, they were targeted by the Sunni insurgency that developed from the most radical elements of the regime, instead of moving to prevent these moderate Sunnis from moving toward the insurgency, we did just the opposite which in turn allowed the insurgency to grow from a nuisance to a viable threat to the state.

You’ve made a similar point elsewhere — it amounts to saying that because the radicals on the other side are also radical, radicalism is bad.

Of course not. The point of the war was radical change. That al Qaeda in Iraq and the United States both bitterly oppose the old regimes does not make one right and the other wrong — or one merely the tool to each other. al Qaeda and America both act to destabilize the region, the main difference being the preferred replacement. (Probably & hopefully what comes next will be a disappointment to both — regimes modeled along the Muslim Brothers in Syria and Egypt. But I digress..)

Even so, that argument [that oil wealth does not bring true development] applies just as well to the current administration in power,

I brought it up because you mentioned that “with Hussein gone and Iraq finally being able to reconnect to the global economy, it would have been subject to the same forces that push countries to reform over the long-term.” My comment attempted to negate your point. Your latest reply upholds my comment and negates your original point.

Their [SCIRI, Dawa, Sadr] initial popularity resulted from their long opposition to Hussein, and the parties’ (note I did not say leadership) somewhat effective social service network.

So far, I agree. The most popular Iraqi political parties became popular because of their political views and community services.

heir popularity increased after, not because they had a base but because they appealed to ethnic and religious solidarity

Further, they gained power by opposing the articial state and supporting the liberation of their countrymen from the possibility of oppression by the old regime. Again, I agree with your description.

What I was arguing was that we should have prevented these exiles, and Allawi, and Chalabi from coming back to allow for native born leaders.

I realize that moral repugnacne is not a logical argument — but is it not morally repugnant to make someone a persona non grata because Saddam exiled him?

More directly, the flow of exiles back into Iraq had a predictable effect: increasing the social capital of Iraq. Exiles came back with unifying visions and political skill. With this they were able to offer their services. Some (Allawi, Chalabi) were rejected by the Iraqi people. Others, like the SCIRI and Dawa networks, were embraced.

This is how democratization should work. The repatriation of the regime’s old enemies and the popular selection of new leadership.

No. From what has been reported, our withdrawal would be contingent upon Sunnis moving against al Qaeda and we would only fully leave when they could prove that as a force it was destroyed. The caveat to that would be, if they are allowed to return, we return as well.

This strikes me as politically naive. Change is hard — leaving Anbar makes it much, much harder to come back than merely an internal repositioning would.

Now, I support leaving Iraq. But that support includes the realization that leaving means we do not return, at least not for some time. Making that decision without such knowledge is operating out of ignorance.

The constitution has to be amended. Shiites and Kurds agree on that, Sunnis just want a guarantee that it will actually be amended.

If Shia and Kurds agree on that, it would be already. Instead they talk of a summer recess and, failing that, just get nothing done. Talk is cheap. Action is expensive. Our Shia and Kurdish clients are willing to speak the words we want to hear. But they know we will leave and they know it is up to them to defend themselves against the terrorists. That’s why they have yet to authorize the Terror Subsidization Act of 2007 (or whatever the wealth transfer from Iraqis to Sunni Arabs will be called).

No. It’s about giving them a stake in the new system. That is the deal we and the Iraqis have pushed for.

They have all the stake they can ever legitimately have in a centralized system: 15% of the vote.

The details, like in anything, are what continue to keep it on hold.

A mass transfer of wealth from those who support democracy to those who oppose is it hardly a detail. It’s the main point.

No. The reason is because the Shiite militias after AQI bombed the Askariya mosque, have targeted mostly Sunni civilians

I agree that Sunin residential areas have been targeted. As the insurgency appears to be well-embeeded in Sunni society, this is the only practical way of ending terror attacks against most Iraqi civilians.

and have become so dangerous that they threaten the viability of any possible Iraqi state.

How so?

It’s one of the primary reasons why many Sunni insurgents have called for a truce with U.S. forces, so that they can focus on defending and fighting against the Shiite militias who many times use American forces to advance their own aims which are mostly detrimental to Iraq and Iraqis.

Indeed. Divide and conquer is a good strategy, and one that the Sunnis are attempting to use. However, their newfound weakness makes “conquer” improbable — perhaps “survive as a politically meaningful entity” is a more realistic goal.

It also has to do with having their own Sunni police forces and army units

Because when you are fighting an enemy, the appropriate solution is to further arm him?

Or do you think that independence from the political system (which is exactly what conventional independent Sunni forces in Iraq would achieve) is a way of giving a stake in that system?

Not only is militarization of the Sunnis wrong from my perspective — I don’t see how it agrees with yours.

since it has become increasingly evident that the national forces have by and large been infiltrated by the Shiite militias who rather than provide security for Sunni civilians are directly responsible for the violence against them.

Clearly, the Iraqi police are primarily interested in protecting the greatest number of Iraqis from terrorists. This is unfortunate for populations that support terror.

Someday they will be loved

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

For several months, perhaps a year, Bush had a chance of bringing a government to Iraq that would reasonably represent all of her citizens. However, the violent incompetence of two men: Abu Musab Zarqawi and George Walker Bush, made that impossible. The dreams of 2003 are the dreams of the past.

In the morning I fled…

America will leave Iraq, because America leaes all countries. We are not an colonial power, like those great states of Britain, France, Holland, and Japan. Too bad for the citizens of Anbar.

Left a note and it read

Given Zarqawi’s and Bush’s performance, the Constitution of Iraq is a death sentence for populations that oppose democracy. Ethnic cleansings are now inevitable, and true family liberation of the Sunni Arabs is a possibility

Someday you will be loved.

Iraq’s Sunni Arabs are stuck the Afro-Islamic Gap, and without ties to the outside world (most especially, without friendly ties to Iran) she will remain their for a century.

I cannot pretend that I felt any regret

Ending the Iraq War means dividing up the country into “thirds,” but that’s really a euphomism. 65% of Iraqi is Shia Arab, and 20% of Iraq is Kurd. Only about 15% is Sunni Arab. Ending the Iraq War means the Sunni Arabs get the desert and, if they are lucky, the ghetto.

Cause each broken heart will eventually mend

Within 12 years, two minority-regimes fell: South Africa and Iraq. The Afrikaner population in South Africa recognized reality, and managed to have their ethnic cleansing be as peaceful and violent as possible. The Iraqi Sunni Arabs tried to swim against the tide of history. They have just begun to pay for that.

As the blood runs red down the needle and thread

While they disagree on many things, and both could have operated much more competently, Both Bush and Zarqawi sought to speed the killing. Both recognize the pre-War status quo as one of institutionalied hate, and both sought to change it. But Iraq belongs not to Southern Protestants nor to Sunni Arabs, but, ultimately, to the Iraqi People and their Shia majority.

Someday you will be loved
You’ll be loved you’ll be loved
Like you never have known

Arabs are not destined to live as either Masters or Slaves. Under western influence and protection, Arab states have been able to provide a good life for their citizens. Egypt under her golden age (-1945) and Qatar now are good examples of this.

The memories of me
Will seem more like bad dreams

Chosen traumas are determined by present needs, not past actions

Just a series of blurs
Like I never occurred

The American occupation of Iraq will one day fade into the mythic past for those in the Gap. Saddam Hussein will also live in the pages of legend. But the devestation of Anbar made possible by the Sunni Arab population will be a reality, probably until a larger shrinking of the Afro-Islamic Gap.

Someday you will be loved

You may feel alone when you’re falling asleep
And everytime tears roll down your cheeks

Bad Neighbors

But I know your heart belongs to someone you’ve yet to meet
Someday you will be loved

China is perhaps the best hope of the Gap, because Beijing is will to build infrastructure and connectivity even for the worst regimes in the world. But Anbar is dry and landlocked, with nothing to give and no one to give it too.

You’ll be loved you’ll be loved
Like you never have known
The memories of me
Will seem more like bad dreams
Just a series of blurs
Like I never occurred
Someday you will be loved

You’ll be loved you’ll be loved
Like you never have known
The memories of me
Will seem more like bad dreams
Just a series of blurs
Like I never occurred
Someday you will be loved
Someday you will be loved

Victory is when Winning is So Easy It Feels Like Murder

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 Victorious Ally

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.

Toward a New, Democratic Middle East

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.

A Democratic Middle East

Keep the Big Bang moving. Support Democracy in the Middle East. Support a Shia Iraq, and a Sunni Syria.

The Iraqi Sunni Arab Host Population Is Not A Strategic Partner

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.

The Killing Baath

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.