Saturday, July 04, 2009

Iraq's Kurdistan

Well worth the read. This has, of course, been noted before when former President George W. Bush's troop surge "strategy" (more like tactics) was being debated in Congress. The troops can enforce an uneasy truce between competing ethnic and sectarian factions but they cannot offer the lasting peace that a mutually acceptable political settlement alone could provide.

We have removed our troops from Iraq's cities. Eventually we will have to leave and Iraq's political factions will have to decide whether they can live together or not and if not, how they will divvy the nation's economic resources among them.

President Barack Obama's predecessor added more troops to the ground in Iraq but squandered his opportunity to condition our support on the sectarian Maliki administration's willingness to negotiate with the Sunnis and Kurds over provincial elections, revenue distribution, federalism, and territorial disputes. To date Maliki had failed.

We ultimately signed onto an agreement that would have us leave no matter what happens in Iraq. The president ultimately will have to decide whether he will live by that agreement and uphold his campaign promise to end the war in Iraq or prolong our stay in Iraq by renegotiating our departure date from Iraq. The former would force the Iraqis to grow up or risk civil war. The latter would cost us more lives and money with no end in site.

If (and this is a big if given his history), Vice President Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) is speaking for the administration, then we are headed in the right direction.

No comments: