Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A divided Iraq just doesn't add up

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"......With the US's Shi'ite allies the picture is much more nuanced. The Senate resolution happens to be the Supreme Iraq Islamic Council's (SIIC's) plan almost verbatim. Its author is Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the SIIC's leader, currently in Iran undergoing cancer treatment. His original plan - establishing an eight-province Shi'iteistan - was approved by a simple parliamentary majority (with minimum quorum) in October 2006. It will not be implemented before mid-2008. For the Iraqi street (not the elite), Sunni and Shi'ite alike, the fact that the US Senate and the SIIC want the same thing for Iraq says everything there is to know about where true alliances lie.......

The Gulf Cooperation Council, which groups six Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms, is against it. The toothless Arab League is against it - accusing the US of destroying Iraq and offering it to al-Qaeda. Yemen is also against it. US ally Saudi Arabia has been mute.....

The Iraqi daily Az-Zaman was close to the mark, noting that for the US, Iraq is and will remain a "vassal state". A weak, dismembered Iraq makes sense only in a scenario of the US exercising control, directly or indirectly, meddling in "sovereign" decisions, keeping its "invisible" military bases and profiting from Blackwater USA and assorted mercenaries' services till kingdom come.....

Whatever imperialist machinations, the fact is that Iraq, over these almost 90 years, has been constituted into a nation - at least for Sunnis and Shi'ites. National pride is an essential trait of the Iraqi character. Partition could be the US scenario towards the Korea model. This means military bases on the ground for decades. It also means - unlike Korea - endless war, because the Sunni Arab resistance (as well as Muqtada's Mahdi Army) will never give up.

Partition could also lead to a Vietnam model. A unified Iraqi resistance eventually wins (it already has almost total popular appeal), topples the government in Baghdad and the US is forced to perform a humiliating remix of the helicopters abandoning Saigon in 1975.

The kingdom, then state, created by Bell is no more. Saddam Hussein was basically perpetuating what had been invented in the 1920s. When Bush's troops invaded in 2003, they destroyed not only the regime but the whole state. Bell was indeed a visionary. Liberal democracy in Iraq is virtually impossible. The Shi'ite-led theocracy that British imperialism tried to prevent in the 1920s is back with a vengeance.

But for the moment, all the horrors built into the Bush administration's disaster in Iraq have been able to engender above all a truly horrific process: ongoing, slow-motion ethnic cleansing. Kurdistan will be populated almost exclusively by Kurds. Sunnistan will be poor and resentful, with no oil, and sprinkled with US military bases. Baghdad will be an overwhelmingly Shi'ite city (it used to be majority-Sunni). And Shi'iteistan will be a wealthy beacon of the Shi'ite revival all over the majority Sunni Middle East. This will all be accomplished by overlapping ethnic cleansing......"

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