Friday, October 20, 2006

A possible solution for Iraq

Despite the best efforts of the US led coalition forces, peace in Iraq seems as far away as ever. Violence and deaths are, if anything, increasing, with no obvious end in sight.

An attempt has been made to set up a democratic government, but of course, this is split along sectarian lines, as indeed is the whole country. In effect there is now a civil war.

A valid point has been raised by General Sir Richard Dannatt:

"The original intention was that we put in place a liberal democracy that was an exemplar for the region, was pro-West and might have a beneficial effect on the balance within the Middle East. That was the hope. Whether that was a sensible or naïve hope, history will judge. I don't think we are going to do that. I think we should aim for a lower ambition."

If we take as a working assumption that Dannatt is correct, is it possible to salvage at least some beneficial results from this mess?

Add to this my observation that Islam and democracy are fundamentally incompatible, certainly in the context of the Middle East.

Critics of this observation may point to the example of Turkey. However, Turkey is something of a special case, as it is a buffer state between the Christian world and the Islamic world.

As an aside, Turkey is far more useful to Europe in this role as a buffer state, than it is as a full blown member of the EU. Of course, it is possible for Turkey to enjoy the trade benefits of membership, without destabilising the EU, if it were to set up bilateral trade agreements. Switzerland has such agreements in place, but has not given up any sovereignty or border controls.

The people of Britain are becoming increasingly irate with the EU. Apart from the flood of nannying regulations, we contribute far too much financially, to support lazy Greeks and inefficient French farmers amongst others. The corruption within Brussels is unbelievable. The worst aspect is that we are now unable to deport criminals, or indeed have any say at all over the numbers of immigrants into Britain.

It is bad enough that we have had a flood of probably around a million eastern Europeans. Imagine the disruption if two million Turks arrive, to add to the two million Muslims already here. The security and social disruption implications are horrendous.

I suspect that if Turkey were to join the EU, Britain would soon leave. The majority of people that I have spoken to are fed up with the EU.


We should not under-estimate the importance of buffer states. Take the example of Tibet. It acted as a buffer between India and China. After its annexation by China, we saw quite quickly a war between India and China. History is likely to repeat itself, as China is working to divert rivers that currently flow from Tibet to India. India is then likely to divert remaining rivers from Pakistan to itself, causing considerable strife in the region. None of this would occur, if Tibet had been left alone.

That is an aside, but it may be that Turkey has a role to play in the future of Iraq. A role that is more important than any role within the EU.

So, returning to Iraq, we see that there are three main groupings: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the middle, and Shiites in the south.

So much ill-feeling and bloodshed have occurred now, that it is inconceivable that any meaningful integration can occur between these communities.

Incidentally, most peoples are comfortable amongst their own kind, which leads to less stress overall. It is simply human nature, and there is not necessarily anything sinister about it per se. This is as true in Britain as it is in Iraq. In the case of Britain, the Labour government are very much exercised by the parallel communities that now exist. They appear to have only recently noticed the phenomenon, when Home Secretary John Reid was berated by a Muslim, for daring to enter a Muslim area of a city.

True to Labour's socialist nonsense, they are now attempting to force integration, by obliging faith schools to take one quarter of pupils from different faiths. This is at a time when many such schools are over subscribed anyway. There has been much hostility to this plan from Muslim and Roman Catholic communities. The Church of England appears to be resigned to it, but they are rather spineless nowadays. See my posting: "Is the Church of England cursed by God?"

Unfortunately this Labour government appears to believe their own socialist propaganda, even though it has been discredited in the USSR, and is heavily modified now in China.

This aside serves to illustrate that it is not possible to force integration between communities who do not want it. In Iraq, this applies principally to the Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis.

You can now see where the argument is heading: The situation in Iraq would be much improved if the country was officially divided into three, with each area able to govern itself, and with carefully chosen borders. Of course, there would be some movement of populations into their own designated areas. However, with the help of coalition forces, it need not be as chaotic as the partition of India, for example. The numbers affected would be far fewer anyway.

Would it then be possible for each of the three regions to form stable democracies? It is a possibility. However, Islam is not compatible with democracy, and so the best that we could hope for is a pro-western regime in each. That may also be ambitious.

We need to have a sensible timescale for withdrawal of our troops. They have done a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances. However, the political aims have always been unrealistic. That is not the fault of the troops however, and they cannot be blamed for the impossible situation.

So, in order to assist the timely withdrawal of troops, whilst having some hope of stability, it is necessary to involve, and co-operate with the surrounding countries. These are: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, and not least, Iran.

President Bush may need to eat his words. It is somewhat ironic that he has attempted to impose democracy where it is unwanted.

The Shiites in the south have a strong affinity with the people of Kuwait. Would it therefore be possible to expand the borders of Kuwait, to incorporate all of the Shiite areas? This would include the city of Basra. The Kuwait army could then bring peace into that region, freeing up coalition forces for the more difficult central and northern regions. We should not expect the form of the Kuwait government to change, but it would be reasonable to ask that they ensure a consistent flow of oil. It may be that they would also agree to pay off the debt that was incurred during the Iran-Iraq war, using a proportion of the additional oil.revenue that they would enjoy.

The northern part, which is the Kurdish autonomous region should then be tackled. Turkey borders this area, and has long had strife within its own borders, with the Kurds demanding autonomy. Why not give it to them? Turkey would have to give up some land area, which together with the autonomous region, would form a new nation of Kurdistan. Handled carefully, it is possible that this new nation would be pro-western. With support from Turkey, it could even have a functioning democratic government. Of course, Turkey would lose some land, but it would be worth it for the possibility of peace. Widening the buffer zone with Europe would also be helpful, as missiles become ever more potent.

Finally, it would be possible to concentrate on the most intractable cenral region. Is it possible to do something imaginative for the long-suffering Palestinian people at the same time? My suggestion is that, as an interim step, a reasonably large area of land is placed under the protection of Jordan, for use by the Palestinian people. When they have become established, it could become a Palestinian state. Of course, it would need a water supply, electricity, and construction assistance. Ironically, it may be that Israel would be in a good position to help. The benefit for Israel would be that it is then seen in a more positive light by its Arab neighbours, whilst benefitting from an increased buffer zone. For this to work, it would be necessary for the Arab nations to recognise that the State of Israel has the right to exist. Israel has re-established itself in its ancient homeland. It was there long before Islam arose.

We in Britain should be justifiably proud of our role in the creation of the modern State of Israel. Indeed it should be seen as a privelige to have done so. Our support, unfortunately has been rather patchy, and the truth has been obscured by those forces that would destroy both Israel and Britain too. It is not to say that Israel is perfect however, but we in Britain can help by suggesting areas of improvement, as one friend to another.

Syria could play an important role in stabilising the Iraq area. It may be that the central area, including Baghdad, could become a semi-autonomous region of Syria. In return, Syria should recognise Israel, and cease its military posturing and support of terrorists. Giving up a claim to the Golan Heights would be a token of peace.

The Chinese word for crisis has also an aspect meaning opportunity. Iraq is clearly in crisis. With some imaginative and bold thinking, it should be possible to gain a number of significant benefits for the whole region. Simply walking away at this stage would inevitably result in massive bloodshed, and is not a sensible option.

Imposing a democratic government appears to be nigh impossible.

Involving the surrounding nations in a constructive way has some interesting possibilities.

Humanity needs peace not Islam.


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