Friday, February 09, 2007

Iraq (2007–2010) Questions & Answers

Originally posted on the forums, 12 January 2007:

Answers to questions posed in another thread.
Originally posted by Airborneinfantry:
What do you think if we just redeploy our forces like most in your beloved party want will happen in that region?
Two effects simultaneously.

First, positive effects. Due to various reasons. Foreign insurgency may go down because there are not Americans to kill. The desire of a lot of mujahideen will be to move on from Iraq towards "the sound of the guns" -- to be wherever the US is still actively operating. e.g. back to Afghanistan.

A lot may also decide to leave before the Iraqis themselves consolidate domestic power and they are left without a sympathetic populace to hide amongst. They'll leave fractious sectarian violence between Sunni and Shi'a to the locals.

Secondly, a negative effect. Some of them, percieving they are making ground, will be all-the-more-determined to stay and topple the Iraqi government. Either that, or if things shift against them, to stay as sour-grapes and make last-ditch kamikaze attacks.

However, over time, Al Qaeda itself will fade, as local sectarian politics overwhelms the minority of the hard core Al Qaeda element.
Do you think that Iraq will be a stable country?
No. But there are others to blame for that besides Al Qaeda.
Do you think that Iran will stop pursuing nuclear weapons?
No. But we can also move to certain more secure areas of Iraq to be nearby to monitor or even, if need be, respond to Iran, and leave some of the places in Iraq for the Iraqis themselves to take care of.
Do you think that whole region will settle down if we were to pull our forces out?
Sort of in some ways, and no in others. See above. My own feeling is that there can be a sort of soft partitioning of the country. Not precisely the same as the hardcore partition and DMZ of North and South Korea, or even the Line of Control in Kashmir, but something more than the NFZs of ONW/OSW. Treaty and truce lines. It is possible to establish an uneasy peace with more sporadic violence.
I would really appreciate an objective response. Don't politicize it, tell what you forsee if we completely leave that region?
If we did pull out entirely, I foresee an Iraqi Civil War which results in three or likely more devolved states or city-states comprising some mix of the following:

1. Babylon - All or part of a divided Baghdad and environs.
2. Kurdistan
3. "Basra Republic" - Shi'ite south
4. Sunni Triangle - Al-Anbar Tikrit, plus portions of southern Ninewa (14), and possibly part of a divided Baghdad.
5. Assyria - City-state of Ninewa/Mosul
6. Iraqi Turkmenistan - City-state of Kirkuk

There would be a lot of ethnic cleansing and IDPs, but eventually you'd have the same sort of fragmentation that happened with Yugoslavia. Because it has some pockets of stability, and oil income, it would never become the collective basketcase that Somalia has become. Some specific areas would become basketcases, such as the desertous and violent areas.

Al Anbar would become aligned with Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Basra with Iran, while also maintaining ties with the west, India and China for oil sales. The US would shore up Kurdistan. Other areas would jostle and fight, or at least compete heavily for control of resources, and vie for aid dollars and international business.

Kurdistan would likely try to hold the Assyrian, Chaldeans and Turkmens "near" them, but those minorities would likely hold out for special autonomy even if they stay within a "Kurdistan."

Turkey would never be happy, and might likely militarize the border even more, or intervene. Iran too might intervene against the Kurds.

Alternately, a regional peacekeeping force might develop, where different powers try to keep the separate warring factions apart.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States might be forced to get off their duffs and move in their own people, along with other forces from Egypt and Jordan. If it were turned over to an OIC-based peacekeeping mission, akin to how the US is pushing for an IGAD mission in Somalia, it might actually get solved without putting US forces at risk.

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