Sunday, December 26, 2004

Secession or federalism in Iraq?

Times Online - Sunday Times:
"Peter Galbraith, the former American ambassador to Croatia, with his vantage point in Zagreb during the bloodbath in Bosnia, was able to see how a country cobbled together by the allies was failing to work. When he visited Iraq after the American conquest last year he was struck by how similar the equally artificial British-created country was to what he had witnessed in the Balkans."

This article makes a case, based on a flawed analogy to the former Yugoslavia, for dividing Iraq into three countries. Having gotten to the point where the creation of an independent Kurdistan would be intolerable to Turkey and Iran with their substantial Kurdish minorities (There are Kurds in Syria, as well, but Hafez Assad kept down their numbers by using their villages as practice bombing ranges for his air force.), it shifts gears to consider a "cantonal" solution that would include making the Sadr City area of Baghdad a Shia enclave within the Sunni heartland. Curiously, this is precisely what apartheid (the literal translation is "separate development") was intended to be when first proposed in the 1950s - a system for allowing different ethnic communities (Zulu, Xhosa, Dutch, English, etc.) to follow their own courses on domestic policies within the artificial constructs of colonial era borders.


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