Is Iraq doomed for the same fate as Bosnia....first bloody secterian war, followed by the partitioning of the land into three entities? This New York Times article discusses the issue, and in the following I throw in my two cents.
The role of the US troops is changing, what should it be? Now, instead of fighting the insurgence, more and more the US troops are thrust in the middle of the secterian fights as some sort of a referee. I should phrase that differently...they are still fighting the insurgence, but now on top of fight the insurgence they have to be a ref as well. Is this asking for too much? Are our troops being spread even more thin than they already are by this development? There is evidence among the troops that taking on this additional task is demoralizing and disheartening. Time will tell for sure, but until then I would like to open it for debate on our lovely blog.
The commanders are trying to utilize a number of tools to quell the unrest, such as the establishment of microloans between Shiite and Sunni merchants, joint police patrols between the two sects, etc. I am not sure that these tactics will work very well. Same has been tried in Bosnia, but until the partition of the country into two different entities, little was acomplished. Even now, the weak federation between the Croats and Muslims is on the rocks, as the Croats would like their own entity just as the Serbs have. Realistically, I think that Iraq is headed in the same direction as Bosnia was. Why don’t we save unnecessary bloodshed and just partition the country now into different entities which would still work together toward a unified economy and government (which would be rotating between different sects as is the case in Bosnia).
The areas like Jurf as-Sakhr in Iraq which is very intermixed would be tricky. But as was the case in Bosnia, some of the cities were divided into different areas where one sect was predominant, and in other cases people moved to areas where their ethnicity/sect is a majority (and were resettled in these areas by the government-provided housing). The plan is far from ideal, but it just might be the best option that the US and Iraq have.