After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Small Green Tomatoes

Omar of Iraq The Model has come up with an innovative solution to all the trouble in Iraq. In a phrase "Turn Baghdad into one big Green Zone." Hmmm.

On the plus side, there is some logic behind this suggestion. Any Iraqi from the older generation (who have lived through no end of coups and revolutions) will tell that you that the key to controlling Iraq is to control its capital. It is the one classic mistake the Americans made. Their theory of dividing Iraq into semi-autonomous regions and keeping a weak centre has backfired in a big way. And Omar is in agreement with al-Qaida in Iraq whose latest strategy is to take over Baghdad and announce a state.

Otherwise this idea just does not work in so many ways I just cant think where to begin.

Lets start with who exactly is supposed to do the securing of Baghdad. The American army will not even poke their heads out of their bases to stop any civil strife (as was so graphically demonstrated by their complete inaction to protect Iraqis following the Samara mosque bombing). Why on earth would they risk their lives to search every house in Baghdad let alone find enough troops and money to do this? The Iraqi Army is still not there. By the most respected American analysis it will take another three to five years to be anywhere near ready. And the recent video of soldiers rebelling against being positioned outside their home towns does not inspire hope. Even the Iraqi Army has generals involved in sectarian killings. And talking of sectarian killings I will not even start to recommend the Iraqi police for the task.

Then there is the politics. Even if you put a wall around Baghdad it will still divide into the lumpy stew of sectarian enclaves and no-go zones for residents and the security forces. Why? Because the constitution is sectarian, the government is sectarian and the police are sectarian. And there will never be any trust between the people and the government. And without trust there will be no security.

The solution is to secure Baghdad, but, as a dentist, Omar will know that putting a filling over a rotten core does not get rid of the rot. The real solution is to tear up the constitution and start the political process again. But that is much harder than dreaming of quick fixes because everyone who has a vested interest in the current process will be violently against you.

When I was at high school I used to imaging that all the worlds problems could be solved by banks printing more money. But those were immature day dreams. The real world requires sacrifice, hard battles and never giving up on your principles.

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