Dreaming Impossible Dreams In Iraq

By this time I think it is pretty clear that our leaders, of both parties, are quite happy to believe that they can fix Iraq. (As honorable mention, they seem to think they can fix the Arab / Israeli and Islam / Israeli problems as well).

It is my considered belief that this is an impossible dream.

The reasons are pretty simple. Shia hate Sunni and Sunni think Shiites are dogs. They have for a thousand years and they are not going to change.

The simple fact is that the fundamentally violent and aggressive culture of the area does not allow for thinking along the lines of “live and let live”. It is all about “my way or die”. They are steeped in that point of view from the Koran ( I’ve read it, it’s in there. A lot. Convert the infidel to islam or kill them. Over and over again.) That mind set develops a point of view, and that point of view gets extended to any “Good Muslim” who is not of the same particular sect. For centuries the Sunni killed off the major leaders of the Shiites. Those “holy shrines” that are often being attacked and sometimes destroyed across Iraq are often the tombs of those very Imams.

So to “keep the peace” you have only 2 options that have been shown to work.

1) A “strong man” dictator who crams it down their throat (as his ambition wants full control of the whole area).

2) Separation into separate countries.

(There has also been a 3rd form, which was “domination by an outside colonial power”, but that IMHO is just a variation on #1 where the “strong man” is a foreign empire.)

The situation we are in today is that the USA took out the “strong man” in Iraq (and, one could argue, assisted in Libya and Egypt) and we were trying to do so in Syria. Then we left Iraq and said, basically, “We’re not the new ‘strong man’ so have a nice day…” and refused to be the Imperial New Bastard In Charge. That, then, reverts inevitably to a 1 vs 2 fuss.

The Impossible Dream is just that TPTB thought somehow magically the Shia and Sunni would all just love to play well together and “all just get along” despite a millennium of murder and bad blood. That the desire for a restoration of The State would be stronger than tribal alliances (that have persisted essentially forever) and stronger than the schizm of sects of a thousand years… When it isn’t, and can’t be.

So What Now?

Which puts us back at 1 vs 2. What now?

My simple suggestion would be to ‘recognize the reality’ and move on.

1) Recognize Kurdistan. Give or sell them all the arms they need to defend their turf. Provide air support just to the point where they have recaptured their historical lands. Tell everyone “hands off Kurdistan”. Bomb the hell out of the first guy who ignores the hands off. (That would include telling Turkey to “Go To Hell” when they complain; then ask if they would like to ‘contribute’ a chunk of Kurds and land to Kurdistan…)

2) Inform the Sunni Tribes in ‘that part of Iraq that is outside of the Shia Baghdad slice’ that they are no longer part of Iraq. Inform the world that Iraq was a lousy British bastard idea at the end of W.W.I and it really needs to be wrapped up now. As Jordan is 95% Sunni and they are butted right up against Sunni Iraq with little hope of that Sunni part surviving as a “State” without Baghdad and / or something other than stinking sand with oil under it; they are now part of Jordan. (We might want to inform the King of Jordan about this prior to the announcement…) Provide to Jordan all the help it needs in restoring peace in their new Eastern Provinces. Tell everyone “hands off Jordan”. Bomb the hell out of the first guy who ignores the hands off.

3) The “Rump State” of Iraq is now predominantly Shia. Thank them kindly for their cooperation with the transition, point them to Iran for further aid and assistance.

4) Inform the Syrians that they really ought to consider the same thing, as only about 20% are Shia (that includes only about 15% to 18% of the total population that make up the Alawites who are running the place) Propose to the Sunni portion that they contact Jordan as a potential new home, but would understand if they just want to stay Syria and slice off Alawiteystan…

5) Inform Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and any other Sunni countries that they have “brethren” Sunni in New Jordan and New South Syria that could really use a hand restoring peace (read “exterminating ISIS / ISIL”) and establishing new borders with the Shia rump states.

6) Sell all the bombs, planes, trucks and munitions they need to straighten the place out.

7) Optional: Merge Yemen with Oman or Saudi Arabia, whichever of them can be talked into taking it… (likely to be a hard sell…)

8) Offer relocation and refuge to ALL Christians anywhere in the involved countries. Move them, their stuff, even disassemble and move their churches to a new place. I’d suggest somewhere in West Texas or Arizona as reasonably empty and close to the geography that they are leaving… also buying land for them would be cheap; but if Australia wanted to kick in some of the Outback that would work too. Look, it’s all going to get destroyed and all of them killed anyway, so might as well pack it up and move it. Keep the villages intact. Rather like the Danish village in California (Solvang) that is a great tourist place… They can sell religious stuff to tourists and make a nice living putting on “Jesus in Syria” reenactments…

At the end of this you have a Kurdistan that is likely to be a pretty nice place. A Jordan that is much better off, has some oil, and where a lot of their “refugees” can now be relocated back to where they came from. ISIS / ISIL pretty much crushed by the only people who can do it effectively, their own Sunni governments. The Shia are no longer feeling like they need to be abusive to retain power to prevent being abused in turn, and they can all “get along” with each other while plotting how to bugger the Sunnis. But not having any Sunnis at home to bugger…

Turkey would be pissed at us, but they do that regularly anyway, and, frankly, ought to hand over their Kurds to Kurdistan (along with the land) as then they would be more peaceful too.

Russia would be a bit pissed as the Rump Syria would not be a very useful tool, but they are pissed at us anyway, so no loss.

Iran would be thrilled to have a nice stable Shia corridor and all, and pissed that they would have a stable Sunni landscape between them and the places where they would like to stir up trouble. They would also be pissed to be staring at a large uniform and well armed Sunni wall. But they are pissed at us anyway so no loss.

At that point, we can pack up our tent and go home, handing them all “Arms Merchant To The World” and “Bombs R Us! – reasonable rates” Business Cards on the way out.

The fundamental instability designed into the area by the Avarice Of Kings when the UK set it up to be a mess would be ended. There would be a real potential for peace in the area. No, I would not expect peace, just the potential of it. When the inevitable war between Sunni and Shia breaks out, sell munitions to both sides (cash only, thanks) and wait. Eventually it will be peaceful, one way or the other.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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9 Responses to Dreaming Impossible Dreams In Iraq

  1. David A says:

    As I was reading I was considering Russian reaction, and thinking it not likely favorable. (You confirmed this view) With true Russian objections, then this is not workable. IMV one would need to get them onboard, which with creativity may be possible.

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    I agree with your basic premise, but you missed one highly effective option which has been proven to work in the past.

    I call it the Carthage solution, where one dominant member of the pair effectively exterminates the weaker member (they are currently working on this premise using the old fashioned kill a few hundred at a time method). When Iran gets their nuclear bomb, I think we will be close to seeing that solution in action.
    As long as you have a culture that institutionalizes hatred for an enemy, long term peace will never break out in this region unless backed by an iron fist and someone willing to use it occasionally.

  3. p.g.sharrow says:

    GOD has already set the solution in motion. They MUST kill one another until they sicken of the smell of their children’s blood. Only then will they willing follow their New path.

    “The twelveth Imann walks with Jesus”

    As to “bringing Muslims to America or Australia” to escape their hell on earth, Bad idea. They must be re-educated to Want to be Americans. Not just displaced Muslims in America that want to recreate their version of Mohamedism heaven/hell in America. pg

  4. E.M.Smith says:


    Um, I said bring the Christians to America or Australia, not the Muslims. As the foundation text of Islam forbids assimilation it is pointless to add more Muslims to a free, democratic, and tolerant society.

    @Larry Ledwick:

    I guess I was just figuring we ought to draw up clean sides before that stage ;-)

    “and they can all “get along” with each other while plotting how to bugger the Sunnis.”
    “When the inevitable war between Sunni and Shia breaks out, sell munitions to both sides (cash only, thanks) and wait. ”

    But yes, I likely ought to have had “one side eliminates the other”…

    @David A:

    At present, Russia is more interested in getting some warm parts of a southern port and some more warmer season growing areas from Eastern European neighbors as they know the deep cold is returning. I suspect just offering to let them keep on doing what they are doing there would be enough to buy them off. “Say, Putin, how about we trade you a Ukraine for a Syria?”… Since the “little o” isn’t going to do anything about Ukraine anyway, it is really just a speed up of the inevitable in Europe for a paradigm shift in Syria….

    Frankly, I think the bigger problems would be with the UK and EU who absolutely do not want anything fixed in the middle east. They set up this dogs breakfast of clashing cultures in the first place and would be in horrors over the prospect of a unified Sunni turf. (Shia are pretty much lumped up in Iran plus east Iraq already, with the rest sort of stragglers scattered around, and as Iraq is already a Shia government, it’s not a big change on that axis.)

    Oh, and the oil producers would not be keen on stability in the “region”… We have Libya and Iraq effectively trashed as major oil sources and certainly in no position to ‘invest for more production’. Nigeria is near chaos especially in the north, so I’d not be surprised to see that oil source “having delivery problems”. Iran is embargoed (for whatever that is worth, but at least it drives up the price). Kuwait is undoubtedly looking nervously over the shoulder at ISIS / ISIL and wondering if a ‘re-do’ is in the cards for another invasion from Iraq. Saudi is starting to actually do something with the military toys they bought, so will need to pump oil to “pay for play”, but they are likely the ones calling the shots on who gets to pump oil anyway…

    So what would stability bring? Um, a flood of Libyan, Iraqi, Iranian and who knows what all else oil onto the markets, and Saudi needing to cut back to maintain prices… On this axis, we could likely get some Russian buy-in just by an offer to let them “help” in removing ISIS / ISIL in Iraq with the tacit agreement that they get to trash all the oil fields they capture so as to damage supply for a decade or so. They would be in favor of things that raise oil prices… And they could be in the weapons sales business to the various survivor states… (Again, getting EU / UK buy-in to that bit would be hard as they don’t like reduced oil supply and Russian weapons sales…)

    Oh well. It will be what it will be. Que sera, sera…

  5. Adrian Ashfield says:

    I would guess that Israel would be a major fly in the ointment for such a scheme. Netanyahu claims to have “Congress in his pocket” with some validity and Israel doesn’t want States in the neighborhood that might become strong. America would not have invaded Iraq without their influence.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Hmmm…. Interesting idea… as long as we’re talking “Impossible Dreams”…

    Instead of relocating the Christians to the USA or Australia, give Lebanon to Israel with the proviso that all the Muslims get relocated to one of their source countries. ( I’m old enough to remember when it was called Christian Lebanon prior to the Muslims purging the place in a series of wars not too much different from ISIS now…). That would solve the Israeli problems with Lebanon, give a place to park the M.E. Christians that could be made fairly secure, and help deal with the Iranian influence there. Toss in the Palestinians from the Gaza at the same time so there isn’t a “two front war” issue for Israel. (This would also benefit those Palestinians as they would be in a nice muslim country without ‘oppression’ and with opportunities to move and live as they like, well away from the ‘offending’ Israelis).

    I mean, what the heck, if one sets about cleaning up the Iraq mess, might as well clean up the Palestine / Israel mess made by the same Empire folks and in about the same time frame… Just sort them out by religion and sect and give each a replacement chunk of land of about the same value as what they had prior; but in a stable and uniform religious / cultural setting with secure borders.

    Gee… language, culture, borders… Where have I heard that before? ;-)

    Maybe I’m “getting clue” on why that is fought so much. It would disrupt the desire of TPTB to keep everyone in chaos and infighting…

  7. Jason Calley says:

    Maybe cut the Russians in on the arms deals. “You sell half the weapons, we’ll sell the other half!” Additionally, that allows both the Russians and ourselves to see a few battles where their arms are pitted against ours, just as a learning experience.

  8. gallopingcamel says:

    As a Brit I feel somewhat responsible for the mess you sum up so cogently. This is not just an academic debate for me as several of my relatives were traumatized as a result of politicians drawing lines on maps. Cousins, uncles and even an “In-Law” suffered all kinds of anguish but happily none of them died.

    We (Brits) meant well but there were “Unintended Consequences” that affected the Arab branch of my family who lived in Beirut (Lebanon) and Alexandria (Egypt). Both of my Arabic speaking cousins were expelled from their homelands but if they had stayed it is likely they would have suffered a fate similar to what Christians are subjected to in Iraq today.

    None of that comes close to the horrors the UK inflicted in India when we honored our promise to grant independence in exchange for support during WWII. My brother-in-law was one of the people who tried to stem the bloodshed:

    His battalion had the task of escorting thousands of Hindu refugees from Pakistan to India and returning with as many Muslims through territory swarming with gangs who murdered, pillaged and set fire to villages. Each trek might take a week. The columns of men, women and children could stretch for 20 miles and there was only a handful of men to guard them. After one march, he was surprised to receive a commendation after half his charges reached their destination.

    You can’t get over such gruesome experiences with people thrown down wells, buildings set on fire with dozens of people locked inside, trains loaded with corpses, women and children impaled.

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    Part of the problem is that most American’s simply have no grasp of how brutal some parts of the world are. They think this sort of behavior is an aberration rather than pretty much business as usual in some parts of the world.

    I like the idea of populating southern Lebanon with displaced Christians, “returning” to Lebanon. In some respects they have a more legitimate claim to part of Lebanon than the Palestinians do.

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