Daniel Pipes and Laurie Mylroie, “Back Iraq: It’s Time for a U.S. Tilt”, The New Republic, April 27, 1987.
We’re seeing a renewal of talk about partitioning Iraq, with the London Times reporting that the Baker commission likes the idea. Kevin Drum and Juan Cole vote “no.” I think there’s a very fundamental problem with this policy, namely that Iraq isn’t our country to partition. “We” simply aren’t in a position to decide whether or not this should be done, you’d need a real Iraqi consensus in favor of the idea and it would need to be negotiated out by Iraqi political leaders.
Nick Kristof offers up a more appealing suggestion — listen to the Iraqis and do what they want, commit to leaving the country in a relatively near future. This could very well generate a mess, but it is what Iraqis want to see happen, and any alternative is essentially guaranteed to generate a mess under circumstances where Iraqis want us to leave.
I keep wondering about this and keep not seeing any reporting on it, but when, exactly, did we make the policy shift that the United States is at war with Muqtada al-Sadr’s militia again? As you’ll recall, there was a period when we weren’t fighting his forced. Then there was a period when we were fighting his forces. Then there was a settlement and we weren’t fighting. Then his political party participated in the elections and even took seats in the Iraqi cabinet. But now we, along with Iraqi government troops, are fighting him again. When did this happen? And why? I’m not criticizing, per se, but I’d like to know what’s going on and I’d think people would be more interested in this sort of subject. Instead, you still hear talk about “succeeding” or “failing” in Iraq but it’s not obvious what the administration is even trying to do.