Saturday, March 22. 2008
A couple of links on Iraq. I'm sure many more would be possible.
Patrick Cockburn: Iraq is a country no more. Like much else, that was not the plan. This is the new Iraq we have wrought: a space on the map hopelessly divided into waring factions:
Fred Kaplan: Have five years of war achieved anything in Iraq? He weighs this out and concludes no. One quote on Rumsfeld's own special interest in the war plan:
Marc Lynch: Thinking Through Withdrawal. A thought piece on what would happen if the US withdraws from Iraq (assuming a 16-18 month withdrawal period, the timing less important than a clear signal of intent to completely withdraw). Lynch sees the big political split within Iraq as not between Shia and Sunni but between the "Green Zone political class," which depends the most on US support, and non-Green Zone actors, which include Sadr and the Sunni Awakenings movement. Reconciliation is of little import to the Green Zoners, not least because it would allow the US to start to withdrawal. A firm US commitment to withdrawal, on the other hand, would push the Green Zoners to find new bases of support, possibly positioning for further sectarian conflict, or to reconcilation. It largely depends on whether the Green Zoners can broaden their base to work with presently excluded forces which have strong potential to disrupt the state.
Tony Karon: Iraq, an American 'Nakbah'. Starts with a picture of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice out for a stroll, captioned "American Taliban council of war." As anyone's who's followed the Palestinians knows, nakbah is Arabic for catastrophe. Karon trots out the usual statistics, then goes back and rifles through pieces he wrote in 2002-03, before the war, to show how obvious even then the case against the war was. He talks about the lack of evidence for WMD, the spurious Al-Qaeda connection, the media manipulations, the "Feith-Based Initiative," how an invasion and occupation would play into Al-Qaeda's hands. The section on "The Liberal Hawk Fallacy" is particularly quotable: