Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Must Read: The Surge & the Iraqi house of cards

By Diane Silver

A former Wichita Eagle colleague of mine, Alissa J. Rubin, writes today that the current calm in Iraq is as fragile as a house of cards. (That's my image, not hers.) Alissa is a Baghdad correspondent for the New York Times. She writes:
“It’s more a cease-fire than a peace,” said Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, a Kurd, in words that were repeated by Qassim Daoud, a Shiite member of Parliament.
Even more significant is how the piece ends.
“On the Shia, side they inherited a history of suffering so now they are not sure,” Mr. (Sadiq al) Rikabi said. “Should they strengthen the central government, which hurt them in the past? Or should they try to have a strong regional government? The Sunnis feel they should dominate everything in the state. It is not easy for them to be just a partner and not the strongest partner.”

“It is not easy to get rid of this history,” he said. “Maybe after 10 years, maybe after a generation.”

Rikabi is Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's political adviser.

I'm posting this because it's a good piece that provides a detailed analysis of the situation, and it certainly chills my blood. Another 10 or 20 years of strife and bloodshed? What does this mean for Iraq and the United States? What kind of policy can we possibly put into action that will actually work?

I'm also posting because I'm a long-time fan of Alissa's work. We covered the Kansas Legislature together back when we had to battle dinosaurs to get to the Statehouse door. (I exaggerate only a little.) I trust her instincts, her obsessive thoroughness, her accuracy and her honesty. She has covered Iraq for years.

Well done, Alissa. Stay safe.

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