Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Iraq Context

Interesting piece on Iraq the geekwyfe sent me.

Anybody else tired of hearing about the botched hanging? I even found an online execution manual from the US military from 1947. It has drop tables and all. Though one thing that commentators never mention is just because you drop them the right distance is still no guarantee that they won't be decapitated.

They have some interesting discourse on where the sectarian motions are.
In the fullness of time, the Arab order of power will have to come to a grudging acceptance of the order sure to take hold in Baghdad. This is a region that respects the prerogatives of power. It had once resisted the coming to power of the Alawites in Syria and then learned to accommodate that "heretical" minority sect and its conquest of Damascus; the Shia path in Iraq will follow that trajectory, and its justice is infinitely greater for it is the ascendancy of a demographic majority, through the weight of numbers and the ballot box. Of all Arab lands, Iraq is the most checkered, a frontier country at the crossroads of Arabia, Turkey and Persia. The Sunni Arabs in Iraq and beyond have never accepted the diversity of that land. The "Arabism" of the place was synonymous with their own primacy. Now a binational state in all but name (Arab and Kurdish) has come into being in Iraq, and the Shia underclass have stepped forth and staked a claim commensurate with the weight of their numbers. The Sunni Arabs have recoiled from this change in their fortunes. They have all but "Persianized" the Shia of Iraq, branded them as a fifth column of the state next door. Contemporary Islamism has sharpened this feud, for to the Sunni Islamists the Shia are heretics at odds with the forbidding strictures of the Islamists' fanatical variant of the faith.
The context of the divisions in the Sunni sect are interestingly informative for those that have only listened to the MSM and believe that the Sunni insurgency is a single un-conflicted group.
The Sunni Arab regimes, it has to be noted, are not of one mind on Iraq. Curiously, the Arab state most likely to make peace with the new reality of Iraq is Saudi Arabia; those most hostile are the Jordanians, the Egyptians and the Palestinians. The Saudi monarch, King Abdullah, has read the wind with accuracy; he has a Shia minority in his domain, in the oil-bearing lands of the Eastern Province, and he seems eager to cap the Wahhabi volcano in the Najdi heartland of his kingdom. There is pragmatism in that realm, and the place lives by its own coin. In contrast, Jordan and Egypt present the odd spectacle of countries heavily invested in an anti-Shia drive but with no Shia citizenry in their midst. The two regimes derive a good measure of their revenues from "strategic rent"-- the aid of foreign powers, the subsidies of Pax Americana to be exact. The threat of Shiism is a good, and lucrative, scarecrow for the rulers in Cairo and Amman. The promise of standing sentry in defense of the Sunni order is what these two regimes have to offer both America and the oil states.
This lends credence to my previous contentions that failure in Iraq will spread the conflict, and will likely cause a much larger destabilization of the middle-east. Even the Sunni countries exist peacefully side by side, how is it that a further sectarian conflict would be expected not to become inflamed.

Read the rest. It will get you further than watching the talking heads on the idiot box.

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