Phony National Reconciliation Is a Bad Choice in Iraq

(Washington Post) Jim Hoagland - What peace there was in Iraq before the U.S. invasion of 2003 was the peace of the graveyard. Saddam Hussein's forces conquered Kurdistan in 1975 and launched a genocidal campaign against the Kurds in 1987. The Shiite south was the target of mass murder throughout the following decade. That history of violence lives on in today's bomb blasts destroying Shiite shrines and the "retaliatory" butchering of Sunni civilians. When Sunnis kill Shiites on a wholesale basis, official American policy statements and news broadcasts call it insurgency. When Shiites kill Sunnis, we call it imminent civil war. The Kurds want to be left alone. The Shiites increasingly see autonomy and separation as the answer as well. A genuine decentralization of power - a loose federalism that maintains Iraq as a concept for today and a real possibility for tomorrow - is both inevitable and desirable at this point. To promote an enforced phony national reconciliation built on concessions to Sunni extremists to wean them from violence, as Washington has repeatedly attempted, is self-defeating.

2006-03-03 00:00:00

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