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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Letter to the Editor: Iraq should be divided, then left for self-government


America’s future political plan for Iraq is seriously flawed and doomed to fail. Keeping Iraq in one piece and leaving its governance to a council of former intellectual refugees in six weeks is a recipe for disaster. Another solution must be found to create a politically and economically stable entity in the region. The best solution for Iraq is to destroy Iraq politically.

Maintaining a state that contains groups of people that have very little in common linguistically, ethnically, culturally and religiously is going to be a state that inherently has political instability and conflict.

A case in point is the former Yugoslavia. The country, like Iraq, was created after World War I, but was made up of many diverse peoples whose only common experience was rule by the Ottoman Empire. Yugoslavia was an idea thought up by ambitious Serbs.

After World War II, the only thing holding the country together was communist ideology. When that fell apart so did the country; the result was brutal fighting and conflict.

Iraq, likewise, shares a similar history except the glue that has held the country together for the last quarter-century has been Saddam Hussein’s regime. That has come to an end. Keeping all the different ethnicities together and expecting them to cooperate to maintain the state of Iraq is very problematic.

Groups such as the Kurds in the north, the Shiites in the south and the Sunnis in the middle really have nothing in common.

Once the United States leaves, the differences, especially those pertaining to political ambitions, will be expressed loudly and turn into conflict as one group tries to dominate another. The seeds of this can already be seen in Iraq-as different groups, they have different agendas for the future. For now, the more violent factions’ conflict is aimed at the United States, but when we leave, they’ll turn on each other and other groups.

The best solution is to break the country up according to the major groups. Create Kurdistan in the north, two states in the middle-one for the Sunnis and a secular city-state of Baghdad that is composed of the immediate surrounding region-and a state for the Shiites in the south. Give each a good cut of the oil fields and let them govern themselves.

There are some problems with this plan, however, but they can easily be resolved. The biggest problem is the creation of Kurdistan. This might upset Turkey and Iran, which have Kurdish minorities.

If Kurdistan is created out of northern Iraq, this new country might want those portions of Turkey and Iran that contain Kurdish minorities. This could be remedied, however, with treaties and constitutional amendments within Kurdistan’s constitution that denounce any annexation of other country’s territory.

This is far simpler than dealing with a protracted civil war, which is most likely the outcome for the current situation in Iraq, especially if the United States hands over sovereignty this June.

Break Iraq up now, and let the individual ethnic groups govern themselves. This will require a lot less U.S./United Nations intervention in the future and will foster stability in the region.

Fracturing Iraq now will help us avoid a 1992 Yugoslavia or 1994 Rwanda in the future.

Brian Fox


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