Thursday, January 18, 2007

Truth on Iraq

An article by Robert Baer in Time magazine is probably the best I have read in a long time. Being a fan of Robert Baer for some time I was excited to read the article when I saw his name. The brevity, honesty, and clarity of the article met my every expectation.
In case you have a fire to put out or a bus to catch and don't have enough time to read the article, I will summarize it for you.
He is in support of the troop surge. Not because it will bring a peaceful democracy that will be the bedrock of future progress in the Middle East, but because it will allow for a peaceful partition of Iraq.
The reason I like his assessment is not only because i think it is true, but also because he shows a simple understanding about human nature.
People agree to be governed by a powerful central entity because of a desire for security. Without such an entity mans existence is difficult at best, horrific at worst, and hellish, brutish, and short for sure. To elude such an existence man allows a slice of their sovereignty to be invaded. I allow the government to take a portion my private property in return for a system that protects my remaining private property from other citizens (my government has gone far beyond their edict, but thats another story).
This quid-pro-quo system does not exist in Iraq. Iraqi's have no reason to surrender sovereignty to an entity that cannot provide them with security. Therefore they have sought security through tribal association. Baer's assessment of the situation couldn't be better. I have thought that a partition would be the best situation since the start of the war, and having the American military in place will allow for a semi-peaceful partition unlike what happened in Yugoslavia.
The real problem with all of this is that Sunnis in Iraq are the clear losers because their portion of the country lacks large known oil reserves. This would lead me to believe that, at some point, there will be renewed fighting to "reclaim their rightful lands" (their rightful lands will coincidently be rich in oil) and they will enlist the help of friendly Sunni states.
We shall see.

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