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Let's split Iraq up to save it!
by Mark Neckameyer


January 01, 2005

In the early Nineties, Rwanda had gained independence and began attempting to install some semblance of democracy.  For generations, the majority Hutu tribe had been discriminated against by the minority but autocratically ruling Tutsis tribe.  You may recall that in the massacres, rapes and genocide that followed, more than a million people died IN ONE BLOODY YEAR!
In the last decade, Yugoslavia was freed from the brutal rule of Marshall Tito and from living under the hegemony of the often brutal USSR.  Orthodox Serbs, Albanian Muslims and Croatian Catholics hated and feared each other but they feared Soviet retribution more so they behaved themselves.  When they were free from those fears; rapes, massacres and genocide forced the EU and ourselves to send troops.  The former Yugoslavian nation was divided up and each group is happy now.
There are more examples including the Muslims and Hindus of India who were separated into present day India and Pakistan by the British in 1947.  They still fight but they have to do it from a distance now and there is at least hope of eventual peace.  You might even include the English Protestants and Irish Catholics who are still killing each other over the northern tip of Ireland some five-hundred years after the Reformation, Henry V111 and William of Orange started the problems there.  The Arabs and Jews in the Middle East were also split up by the British as they could not and still cannot live together without mayhem.
What is the point of these comparisons?  The Shiite Muslim majority in Iraq had long been subjugated by the minority Sunni Muslims.   For the past three decades Sunni rule was personified by that wonderful humanitarian Saddam Hussein.  The Sunnis got the best jobs, got the spoils of the oil trade, and virtually owned the army and the Iraqi government.  Lots of Sunnis and Kurds too were murdered if they did not capitulate to Sunni dominance.  Now we are installing democracy in Iraq but the Shiites want to see justice done, murders solved and want their share of the economy.  Sunnis for a couple of generations were brought up to believe that Iraq was theirs.  To make things worse, Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a country to call their own.  They are Muslims but with their own customs, language and traditions.  Saddam forced these groups to live together albeit he did it through murder and torture.
What makes us think that we can resolve these long term vendettas in a few months or even a few years.  President Bush is correct that all people yearn to be free but do they really want to live with people responsible for killing their friends and family?  Can hate taught all their lives just disappear in a flash in an election booth?  Perhaps our best strategy would be to just split Iraq into three nations; Sunni, Shiite and Kurd.  Split the land pro rated to population and split the oil profits pro rata for the next hundred years.  Set up three democracies.  Build two big and tall fences separating the three nascent nations and wait for a new generation to forgive and forget.  Then, when the last fence has been completed, we send out troops home.
Would this work?  Remember Czechoslovakia?  Korea?  The Soviet Union?  This is no knock on the President's program.  Terrorists still need to be eliminated and freedom encouraged but putting folks in their own nations will help the cause.
Mark Neckameyer
Irvine, CA - USA


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