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Posted by on Dec 17, 2006 in At TMV | 7 comments

“Directions On Iraq” In The Eye Of The Beholder

There’s a special weblog event going on right now on the Iraq issue via one of the most reasonable centrist voices on the internet, Dave Schuler:

It is my pleasure and honor to introduce a blogging colloquium at The Glittering Eye, “Directions on Iraq�. This colloqium is an extended cross-blog conversation on Iraq. Its participants have been selected based on knowledge, experience, and credentials.



Over the next few days the participants will be posting the presentations of this colloquium at their own blogs and I’ll be linking to them here. I’ll also be linking to a number of adjunct posts—recent posts on Iraq in which I see particular merit.

Here’s a good start (and he welcomes comments):



Read this. And read this.



This is a very serious discussion by some highly thoughtful people (just look at the mini-bios of the contributors) and it could go on for a while, perhaps until the 20th. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.



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  • Surely interesting, but I never heard of anyone of the participants. Did Juan Coledecline an invitation? Larry Johnson‘s view from the intelligence side isn’t interesting? And the Angry Arab is too shrill? Hmmm…

  • “Directions On Iraq” In The Eye Of The Beholder
    Indeed. And there’s a good column in WaPo that shows the cacophony of voices stomping for a new direction for US foreign policy.

    Personally, I think that less is more. Constraint will bear better results than interventions. The whole idea of influencing other nations’ politics disregards the fact that the US will always favor its own interests over those of other people. This imminent discrepancy between US goals and what people want for their own nation has to lead to frictions, sometimes violent ones.

    So, for a new direction for Iraq that will lead to stability and security, the US first have to abandon all their own interests in the region. And the new order for Iraq has to be found by the Iraqis. This won’t go without violence. Sadly, it seems to be the only way that will eventually lead to a stable situation.

    I expect a partition coming out of this, like in the case of former Yugoslavia. I can’t imagine those three large groups with their different interests living peacefully under a united government. The tensions would simply tear this apart. And a weak government wouldn’t last for long, the governors of the provinces wouldn’t want to share any authority. Really, I think in some years, ‘Iraq’ will just be a name in history books.

  • Those are interesting contributions, Joe. Burgess’ insights are very promising, though I can’t see where he will find a reasonable course for Iraq from this start. Hamilton, with his primary attention towards economy, comes through as another bubblehead. Economy hasn’t any chance to prevail in the deteriating security situation.

    Abou-Alsamh is good at providing the Saudi view, but obviously clueless about a rational way to pacify Iraq. His contribution suffers from statement at the start: “Don’t get me wrong. I supported the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein, the brutal dictator who had been responsible for the death and torture of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Iranians.” Well, sure ONLY pundits who have been totally wrong in their rooting for the war should be taken seriously (who was the blogger who pointed this idiotic mainstream idea out? He is soo right.).

    And then, Sondhi and Cook whose ideas are already heading for shipwreck soon after weighing the anchor: “there is little question that the defeat of the insurgency would be much easier if the Sunni community possessed a leadership that felt it had a stake in the new Iraq.” Huh? The whole Sunni part of the insurgency is solely fueled by the (rightly) fear that they will lose their stakes in Iraq. They want their part of the oil (and the leadership), even though there is none in their provinces. Sondhi and cook think all will be well if the Sunnis get a guarateed part of the national income. Excuse me pls, but where is the interest of the other parties (80% of the population!) to agree to this, to waive moneys in favor of the Sunnis, who tyrannically ruled over them and took most of it for decades? Sorry, you ‘pundits’, but this is making no sense.

    So, lots of interesting infos, but I don’t see that this discussion round will find a reasonable course for Iraq. I even doubt that they could arrive at a collective estimate on who will lead Iraq’s next government.

  • C Stanley

    Excuse me pls, but where is the interest of the other parties (80% of the population!) to agree to this, to waive moneys in favor of the Sunnis, who tyrannically ruled over them and took most of it for decades? Sorry, you ‘pundits’, but this is making no sense.

    Actually Joe Biden gave a great explanation a while back of what the interest is for the Shiites and the Kurds to agree to divide the spoils with the Sunnis: foreign investment. There is far more oil in the ground under Iraq than they are currently able to get to. Their technology and equipment are in need of a huge boost in investment, and they will only be able to get that foriegn investment if they buy into a peaceful solution for a unified Iraq. If they would do so, they’d be able to reap a piece of a much larger pie that would be greater than the current whole pie, so they’d actually be better off.

  • “Actually Joe Biden gave a great explanation a while back of what the interest is for the Shiites and the Kurds to agree to divide the spoils with the Sunnis: foreign investment. There is far more oil in the ground under Iraq than they are currently able to get to.”

    Joe Biden really isn’t one of the brightest brains in Senate. Where there’s oil, there will be investors looking for opportunities. Sunnis aren’t needed for the Kurds and the Shiites to attract oil companies.

  • Neither Juan Cole nor Larry Johnson responded to my invitation. I’d have welcomed them. I’m ashamed to say that asking the Angry Arab didn’t occur to me. I sent out a couple of dozen invites to participate all told.

  • “Neither Juan Cole nor Larry Johnson responded to my invitation.”
    That’s regretable. But thx for asking! Would have been good to hear from them, too.
    “I’m ashamed to say that asking the Angry Arab didn’t occur to me.”
    No big deal. I guess he’s more of an expert for Lebanon, Syria and Palestine issues.

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