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Old 08-09-2010, 06:32 AM
 
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Yesterday, I read in the NYTIMES that the U.S. will soon complete its withdrawal of combative troops in Iraq. (When Obama became president we had something like over 150,000 US troops in Iraq, it may have been 170,000 but I forget the exact number). Once these "combat troops" are removed some 50,000 soldiers will remain after September of this year. Despite their labels as "non-combative" and as "advisory" they will engage in combat missions if needed, though the Iraqi army will handle most of the day-to-day affairs...other than training, advisement and guarding special facilities. The plan is preparing the Iraqi army to be able to take over completely by the time all forces are withdrawn by the end of 2011.
Anyway, despite the current optimism of the US military, I have some doubts. Two years ago, I had a class on the History of the Modern Middle East in which we talked a great deal about Iraq. You see, Iraq was an artificial creation carved out of three provinces of the Ottoman Empire. (The British seized these three provinces following the defeat of the Ottomon Empire in WWI). Hence, in the arly 1920's, the Kurdish, Sunni and Shia provinces were combined into one new country. A King, Faysal I who was actually not even from the arae was installed as monarch. Though, the King was partially sucessful in putting down some roots for his monarchy in Iraq, Faysal I died in 1933, only one year after securing Iraqi independence. His sucessors, son and grandson (along with the civilian politicians) would prove to be incompetant. In 1958, a revelution occurred and the Iraqi monarchy was violently overthrown. Basically, Iraq imploded in a blood bath. A couple more times during the 1960's, Iraq imploded again and again until Al-Bakr brought some stability and even prosperity to Iraq beginning in 1968. However, by 1979 Saddam Hussein was in charge and everyone knows the rest of the story.
Now, with a history like this, am I correct to be doubtful that Al-Maliki, current prime minister, can successfully lead a country like Iraq within a alien system of government imposed on them? Am I correct to assume that Al-Maliki will want to eliminate any remains of opposition to secure his authoiryt once the US withdraws? If that happens, will Iraq implode again? I am sure that Al-Maliki does not have universal support
inside Iraq. Is there anyone better? Especially since democracy will not survive in the long-term in Iraq, who will eventually secure their authority inside that country? Even if Al-Maliki does survive for the medium term, what kind of Iraq will it be? I believe that Iraqi society is too divided to be held together without a strongman to rule it, but could a post-US government even secure its authoirty over the entire country? I doubt the Kurds will ever allow the Baghdad government to simply walk in and re-assert their authority (Note: the Kurdish region of Iraqi is now stable, peaceful, but almost completely autonomous from the Central government). I believe that the post-US Iraqi army would have to send in massive amounts of reenforcements to ever rule over Kudistan again....
Well, that's enough of my rambling. You should get the point by now that Iraq is a very difficult country to rule over and the issue of managing a post-US government will be highly complex due to the divisions facing the country. Also, Iraq's history does not make its future in the short and medium terms too promising. But what do you think? How will the next 1 1/2 years go in Iraq? What will happen after 2011? I know there is no way to know, but what are your concerns and predictions?
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:47 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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The progressive RINOs and Democrats disagree with your assessment.

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Old 08-09-2010, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lentzr View Post
I believe that Iraqi society is too divided to be held together without a strongman to rule it, but could a post-US government even secure its authoirty over the entire country?
Not likely! Remember what happened after our little intervention in Bosnia? The moment our last troops departed, you couldn't tell that we'd ever been there. Iraq is just as fragmented as the Balkan Peninsula, and it won't be any different there than it was in Bosnia.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
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I suggest letting the three different cultures that are currently called Iraq seperate into their own countries.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Fredericktown,Ohio
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We are going to force them Iraqi's to embrace democracy even if it is by the barrel of a gun so they can walk around with purple ink on their thumbs.We will force diversity and make all 3 groups love each other even if it takes 200,00 troops and we are there until 2100.We will keep security strong in the 3 big oil Fields that are owned by the U S, Britain and China.We will spend 7 trillion dollars that we have to borrow to do it.We will keep this mission going until victory and the hell with them cut and runners. We will sell little flags to wave and yellow ribbon car decals by the millions so we can show our patriotism.
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:29 AM
 
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Summers73 - Please explain why you disagree with me.

Secondly, guys, comparing Bosnia to a completely different history and culture such as Iraq is comparing apples and oranges. Different cultures, different political traditions, different parts of the world, differetn everything.
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:53 AM
 
31,385 posts, read 32,107,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lentzr View Post
Now, with a history like this, am I correct to be doubtful that Al-Maliki, current prime minister, can successfully lead a country like Iraq within a alien system of government imposed on them? Am I correct to assume that Al-Maliki will want to eliminate any remains of opposition to secure his authoiryt once the US withdraws?
You are a bit behind the curve. Back in march Iyad Allawi's Iraqiya group won the national elections and is currently attempting to form a majority government, as contentious as those negotiations have been. So, the question about al-Maliki's ability to "eliminate" the opposition is highly questionable at best.

Quote:
...democracy will not survive in the long-term in Iraq,
With such gifts of prognostication, I am sure that there are number of think tanks who will soon be knocking at your door. The fact that Iraq in the past hasn't had a glorious history of practicing democracy doesn't insure that once taken hold that it will fade. The level of electoral participation has been rather remarkable once the Sunni's became apart of the process. And the fact that in a multi-party election that a secular party won the majority of votes does bode well. Will there be problems in the future, undoubtedly, no democracy has been without them, even our own.
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:08 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
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Hard to believe that country was THE leading civilization on this planet just a few thousand years ago
Anyway, they are adults, not children. The West can't stay there for years and years just because they don't get their act together. (Sure, we should never have interfered in the first place, but that is another story.)
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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OVCATTO - Do you think that an imposed system of government will survive? There may be the possibility of demoractic institutions beginning to take root in Iraq. However, such institutions can not be imposed in a part of the world (minus Lebanon) by an external power, especially one as unpopular as the U.S. They must take root within the country itself. Hence, I feel that it is a bit naive to think that democracy imposed by the US will survive in the long run. Maybe years down the road it may begin, but NOT from American imposition.

Let me remind you that the Middle East, especially Arab world is not so familiar with democracy. Yes, Lebanon is an exception. Israel is more of a Western country. However, the rest of the Arabic speaking nations are clearly not democratic in the Western sense of the word. Even Kuwait and Bahrain are not true democracy. Yes they have elections...but look at where real authority lies in such countries. It tends to lay with the emir. I am not saying that more truely democratic insitutions will come about decades from now. However, it should allow itself to develop on its own. Only then could democracy be cemented into a society.

Third, yes, Al-Maliki's party did not do so well. It was starting to look like he would be replaced. I am not going to get into the legal technicalities of Iraqi parties forming a government. However, these elections and democracy took place because it was imposed upon them. Just because the Iraqi authorities are following democratic principles now, does not mean they do so when thousands of US soldiers go home. What I am getting at is this democracy is being imposed from an outside and unpopular force, it is not sprouting up from within. The British imposed the Iraqi monarchy in the early 1920's. How long did that last? Less than 35 years in a very short time for Middle Eastern Monarchies. The British imposed monarchy was too foreign for it to properly take root. Thus, it eventually fell. I see the same happening with a US imposed democracy.
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:04 AM
 
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NEULING - Yes, Baghdad was the most powerful, wealthiest and prosperous city in the world until the 13th century when the Mongols leveled Baghdad. Eventually, this region will probably recover its proposerity but it must happen on its own. Change has to come from within and it will not be successful if an unpopular US government attempts to impose such changes on a completely different culture.
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