Monday, January 10, 2005

January 7, 2005

Come hell or high water, President Bush is determined Iraq’s elections go on as scheduled on January 30. Yesterday he said that even if insurgents carry out their promise to kill Iraqis who show up to vote, it will be worth it.

(Note: There are no known Iraqi members of the Bush family, of course, which is why he figures the death of a few hundred more Iraqis is “worth it,” just as the death of nearly 1500 US soldiers – all also unrelated to the Bush clan n – has been “worth it.” I have to wonder if one or both of his daughters died fighting over there if he would still consider their deaths “worth it?” – not that we will ever know since the Doublemint twins clearly do not think it is “worth” volunteering for.)

Ah, but I digress.

If the election goes on as President Bush has ruled it must, what then? The Sunnis are not going to take part in an election they have no chance of winning. So, rather than turning the corner towards a representative democracy by legitimizing the central government, the election will instead finally legitimize the insurgency. What had been a fuzzy conflict between the US-installed interim government and a rag-tag Sunni guerilla war will become something we all understand when we see it: Confederates v. Unionists, the Gray v. Blue, a house divided -- a civil war.

Even though they are a minority in Iraq, the Sunnis have run things for over a century, and they are not about to become hand-servants to the bitterly hated majority Shiites. It is important that everyone understand how these two parties see each other. The Sunnis consider themselves Iraq’s aristocracy and view the Shiites the very same way Afrikaners saw the black majority in old South Africa – and visa versa. There is no love lost here, because there was never any love in the first place. These two groups lay awake nights thinking up ways to make each other miserable.

So after the election the lines will be drawn and a good old fashioned civil war will rage.

Then what?

Well the first thing that will happen is the Kurds will pull up the drawbridge. Even during the final years of Saddam Hussein’s rule the Kurds had carved out a peaceful, well-run, democratic enclave for themselves in the north. And they intend to keep it that way. The Kurds are armed to the teeth and are the most skilled and ferocious fighters in the region. When the Sunnis and Shiites start going at each other’s throats the Kurds do what they have always done when the Shiites hit the fan – they will immediately secure their own territory – including lucrative northern oil fields.

And the newly elected Iraqi government will not be able to do a damn thing about it. They will be too busy trying not to get martyrs, blown out of office by Sunni forces supported by fellow Baathist in Syria. In response Iran will pump trouble in from their end in support of their brother Shiites. Since Allah is on both sides, this will last a while.

Meanwhile the Kurds will go their merry way. The Iraqi government will complain bitterly about the Kurdish land-grab, but that’s all they will be able to do, complain. After all, how will they explain why they need to impose Iraqi government control over a peaceful and orderly Kurdish region while chaos reigns in the areas they do control?

And just guess who is going to be caught right in the middle of this big-ass hate-triangle? Uncle Sap. The US will find itself caught between the Kurds – to whom we are beholden (BIG time,) and the “freely elected” Shiites and will still be trying to woo Sunnis into the central government.

Any cop will tell you that the most dangerous and thankless part of their job is breaking up family fights. The same goes here. What will end up happening is, after losing several thousand more US lives and wasting several more hundreds billions of US dollars, all three parties in Iraq will end up hating our guts and we will pull out leaving them to sort matters out on their own. And, they will.

Now, we may not like the way things sort out, but once it does we will at least have a definable set of circumstances to which to respond to or adapt to -- which is not the case now. Right now we are like a beekeeper trying to round up three hives of swarming killer bees. Let the little bastards settled this themselves.

(BTW -- my money is on the Kurds.)

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