The Three State Solution for Iraq November 7, 2006Posted by federalist in Diplomacy.
Can we turn Iraq into a democracy? Byron Winn, in a letter today to the WSJ, debunks the erroneous assumption of our current strategy:
Rather than either “stay the course” in pursuit of a unitary state or abandon Iraq entirely, the U.S. needs to help the three nations of Iraq to attain statehood. In short, we need to undo the post-World War I folly that was the state of Iraq from the beginning.
Iraq’s split into Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite nation-states may be historically inevitable — and actively pushing this course rather than fighting it may be the best way for the U.S. to regain the initiative in the region. This policy has two further advantages: First, it is consistent with our historical and ideological commitment to self-determination; second, this outcome would be just — an independent Kurdistan with a U.S. security guarantee rewards the Kurds for their cooperation and reminds the Turks there are consequences attending non-cooperation with U.S. policy. A Sunni nation-state, without oil and caught between two enemies, is the appropriate prize for decades of Ba’athist dictatorship and oppression of Shiites and Kurds. (We should, of course, arm the Sunnis.) And a Shiite state in the south adds nothing to the region that isn’t present already: Iran is already an Islamic dictatorship with oil, hosting terrorists and sponsoring terror on a global basis.
Even if the Arab Shiites annexed themselves to Iran (and they won’t, because they are Arabs and the Iranians aren’t), that won’t significantly change the dynamics in the region or globally. In any event, the new Sunni and Shiite states will be too busy fighting each other to make much trouble for anyone else. (We should take care that neither side gains the upper hand for long.)
Instead of fruitlessly opposing the forces of history, why not use them to our advantage?