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Arranging a Balance of Terror

Published: August 24, 2007, Author: MHirch

As they see it, the nations that won the war in Iraq now control the government, have an alliance with the Kurds and have established increasingly normalized relations with Iran and Syria. No, not the Americans, British and the coalition of the willing. The Iraq government of Nouri Al-Maliki is a success—the Shiites. Of course, the Americans (read Bush Administration and the opposition party leaders) don’t think Maliki is a success because the American military and prestige are caught in a violent quagmire like a stuck pig. They now blame Maliki for their own failures.

The Sunni peoples in Iraq are generally displeased because they have lost (with the help of the Americans) their privileged position of control under the leadership of the now dead Saddam Hussein. Thanks to the unprovoked American attack on Iraq that destroyed civil society, government and the Iraqi military, the long suppressed Shiite majority of Iraq now control the future of Iraq. Majoritarian politics of states’ government says: The majority shall rule. The Shiites are the majority…they want to rule.

The flaw in this messy ointment is that majoritarian politics don’t work in a state where there are more than 150 different nations living next to each other. Each nation has its own rules and its on vision. Compromises are temporary (until new advantages can be identified) and the rule of universal law for all is a fiction. If 150 nations are to run a state, then the only approach that will work is a federation of equal parties where the strongest is more equal than the others. The truth is, the concept of a unitary state simply cannot work with so many different peoples pushed into a single polity.

If left to their own devices after the Americans “redeploy,” now that the Americans have unnecessarily stirred the hornet’s nest, the competing nations of Iraq will over time settle into a kind of equilibrium. For a generation, that may mean (if they are to keep the state) absolute rule by the Shiites in Iraq, autonomy for the Kurds and a kind of modified autonomy for the Sunni peoples. The Americans must now slowly pull themselves out of the mess they created and place their forces on the periphery and on ships for a rapid response if things in Iraq get too much out of hand. Yes, there will be further carnage. The Americans have provided the weapons, the money and the stimulus for that. Just as the Americans (Carter and Reagan administrations) provided the Hussein dictatorship with weapons of mass destruction used to kill millions of Iranians (much to the satisfaction of American policymakers fearful of Iranian dominance in the region) and thousands of Kurds, the George W. Bush administration is now providing all of the parties in Iraq as well as the Lebanese in Lebanon, Palestinians in Palestine, Israelis in Israel and Egyptians in Egypt with the weapons needed to kill each other. Stupid? Yes! But, this is what the American government has been doing for quite some time since the end of World War II.

American government officials, seeking to arrange a balance of power, have succeeded in arranging a balance of terror…look now at what happened in Afghanistan. American weapons now fuel wars and terror. Stupid? Yes! American occupation in regions of the world can only make things worse. Violence will continue to occur…maybe it will be less of a mess if the Americans simply back off.

(c) 2007 Center for World Indigenous Studies

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