Iraq: Let’s Pray For Number Seven

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With due deference to President Bush and some of my co bloggers who continue to focus on how to keep the bus that is the American presence in Iraq from going off the cliff, the bus went off the cliff a while ago. What we are left with is what happens when it hits the ground.

Austin Bay is among those bloggers who might not completely buy into the bus-off-the-cliff analogy, but knows that given realities in Baghdad and Washington (which is to say that the political clock is outrunning the military clock), it is time to look ahead to the big splat and post-U.S. occupation scenarios.

Bay posits seven scenarios, which he calls “speculative dramas,” while acknowledging that they are not mutually exclusive and could overlap. They make an excellent springboard for looking ahead.

(1.) Three New Countries

“Kurdistan in the north becomes an independent country – and immediately begins to wrestle with Turkey over the Kurdistan Workers Party (the PKK) which is waging a secessionist struggle in southeastern Turkey. Kurdistan has oil. Southern Iraq—a predominantly Shia – area, becomes a Shia state—with oil. Parts of Anbar province become a Sunni state (Iraqi Sunnistan) – which has few oil fields. But what becomes of Baghdad? Does it divide like a desert Berlin into Shia and Sunni sectors? Baghdad remains a source of continuing conflict.”

(2.) Regional Shiite-Sunni War

“Iran sees a chance to recover not only the Shaat al Arab region – the delta of the Tigris and Euphrates, but a chance to extend its border into the economically productive areas of southern Iraq. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait immediately react to Iran’s drive into southern Iraq. Iraq has served as a “buffer” between Sunni Arabs and Shiite Iranians, and the buffer is dissolving . Jordan and Egypt prepare for action. The War Over Mesopotamia could last for weeks, it could grind on for years.”

(3.) Turkey Expands

“Turkey reclaims control of territory all the way to Kirkuk, creating a new Southern Turkey: The Ottoman Empire once controlled Mesopotamia. Turkey has a lingering claim to areas of northern Iraq. For almost two decades Turkey has fought with the Kurdistan Workers Party – a Kurdish secessionist group in Turkey which has bases in northern Iraq. Turkey could conclude the way to end the war with the PKK would be to absorb Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey would pay a huge political price. It would lose all chance of joining the European Union. Ties with the West would deteriorate –and as a result Turkey might become less secular and more Islamic in both identity and in political orientation. The Iranians would be glad to see their “Kurdish issue” disappear, but would be wary of a militant Turkey.”

(4.) Shiite Dictatorship

“Shiite Arabs conduct an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Sunni. They create a condominium state with the Kurds. Iranian influence increases . Iraq’s Sunnis either die (a genocide) or flee to other Sunni controlled states – or move to the US.”

(5.) Chaos

“The region becomes a cauldron. Iraq shatters into ethnic enclaves, a few “new Mesopotamian city states” managing to control oil fields. Iran and Turkey exert “regional influence” over eastern Iraq and northern Iraq, respectively, but concerned about confrontation between themselves or provoking sanctions from Europe and the US, neither send their military forces in large numbers beyond current borders . Terror attacks and intermittent fighting afflict neighborhoods throughout Iraq. Local warlords rule by fear and make money either smuggling oil, drugs, or arms. This tribal hell is a perfect disaster—the kind of disaster that allows Al Qaeda to build training facilities and base camps for operations throughout the Middle East and Europe.”

(6.) “Gang Up”

“Shiite Arabs in Iraq are numerous, well armed and increasingly well organized – at least enough to expel all of the Sunni Arabs. The Shiites and Kurds, who are now over 80 percent of the population, decide to eliminate their main enemy, and the source of most of the terrorism—the Sunni community. Neighboring Sunni Arab nations are kept out with the threat that Iran will intervene. Arguably, this scenario is already happening, though in slow motion.”

(7.) The Center Holds

“The democratic government proves to be resilient and popular. The assumption behind this scenario is that Iraq’s new democratic government is just responsive enough and its security forces are just strong enough to withstand attacks by extremists and give Iran pause. After several months of brutal warfare, the Iraqi Army destroys insurgent groups.”

  

9 Comments

  1. This is just Kissinger redux and 1969. WNixon wants “peace with honor” and “victory in Vietnam”, tells the public the same while Kissinger works in the backround. The US loses 30,000 more dead to delay the fall of South Vietnam six years later. This Iraqis government isn’t anymore legitimate than South Vietnam of the late 60′s and early 70′s. Sistani and the Shia played us for fools, they now have a Shia led majority that Saddam brutalized. Now, both Shia and Sunnis, use drills and rape to continue the Saddam model.
    A three state republic might have worked during the CPA days, now a breakup like India/East Pakistan/West Pakistan may repeat and we can do nothing. But India didn’t have Iran/Jordan and Saudis to either mediate or join the blood shed.

  2. Look at the bright side. At least we don’t have low-life “student” scum conducting violent “protests” and burning down college campuses, or sending materiel to the enemy, as was done in Vietnam. (The moment the first package with the label saying “a gift to you from your friends at Berkeley College” was found, the military should have stormed the campus, identified and seized the offenders, and executed them publicly on college grounds.)

    Unfortunately, we still cannot trust the media to report the true situation in Iraq accurately or honestly. That hasn’t changed since Vietnam (except when Democrats were in the White House), though hopefully it’s not as bad now as it was then. (We don’t encounter, outside the media, a lot of anger among the soldiers in Iraq about how things are being reported.)

  3. DLS:

    So I presume that you choose Scenario No. 8?

  4. DLS Did you Google the Iraqis version of Thomas to check on the votes on bills that were part of the benchmarks. Our government is equally guilty of “reporting” just as in Vietnam. The Whitehouse won’t even release a report on Iraqis security readiness. Here is the complete posting on this from the CunningRealist, please go to the actual site and read.
    http://cunningrealist.blogspot.....-days.html

    Training Days
    One of the themes getting traction from the occupation’s remaining supporters is the “increasing effectiveness” of Iraqi troops. As straws go, this one’s good for grasping. But it’s a curious claim. Those making it must have incredible sources, since the hard data on Iraqi troop readiness has been classified since 2005. Earlier this year, the U.S. government’s top internal auditor tried to get a statutorily-required update from the Bush administration. Here’s what happened.

    posted by The Cunning Realist at Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    CR links to this story:
    http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0107/011707m1.htm

    Defense reluctant to share data on Iraqi troop readiness
    By Jenny Mandel jmandel@govexec.com January 17, 2007

    The Defense Department has resisted auditors’ efforts to obtain data on the military readiness of U.S.-trained Iraqi troops, according to a senior government official.

    Comptroller General David M. Walker told audience members at a Government Executive breakfast Wednesday that Defense has not complied with repeated Government Accountability Office requests for evaluations of Iraqi troop preparedness, known as transitional readiness assessments. The Pentagon develops those evaluations for Iraqi and U.S. forces, Walker said, and has a statutory obligation to release them to GAO.

    How many times have we gotten different versions of Iraqis troop rediness?

  5. Hah! You are slow to the draw Shaun. I linked to this in Michael’s ‘Reality Check’ post at 6:10 AM (TMV time)

  6. I’m gonna say number 5 seems the most likely in the short term.

  7. Chris – of course you would think that.

    Why don’t you come clean, be intellectually honest, and admit it is what you are hoping for, despite the human suffering it would cause, just so you could go ‘neener-neener-neener’ at the Bush administration.

  8. You okay Austin Roth? Your last comment seems to be in very bad taste.

    There are miles between a prediction and a wish/hope.

  9. Starts out as 5, low level Shiite infighting become an all out grab for power between the factions. The Kurds manage to maintain order, partly out of fear of Turkey, and secure their borders [after making sure they have total control of the nearby oil fields]. The Sunnis form enclaves to fend off Shiite attacks coming out of Baghdad.

    Iran uses influence and threats to unify the Shiites into a state, initially without the Sunni areas. The Kurds make peace with Iran to keep their autonomy, and serve as a buffer state. With the internal problems solved the Shiites go after the Sunni areas as being rightfully part of Iraq, the situation turns into 2. The US stays out of it other than a warning that any attempt by Iran to invade Saudi Arabia or Kuwait will trigger a war over oil. Millions die before the exhausted parties make peace, the only good news is that with all of the terrorist attacks coming from both sides radical Islam losses it‘s appeal.

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