babble home
rabble.ca - news for the rest of us
today's active topics


  
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » archived babble   » the middle east and central asia   » More concerns over a post-war Iraq

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: More concerns over a post-war Iraq
Briguy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1885

posted 12 March 2003 09:51 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Did Paul Wolfowitz really say this? Is he really this ignorant about the country his president is going to invade?

quote:
LATE LAST MONTH, American analysts were trying to predict both the cost of a war against Iraq and the estimated duration of U.S. occupation.

In response to the latter, Paul Wolfowitz, the U.S. deputy secretary of defence, replied that "Iraq is not like the Balkans. They are one people."


quote:
For anyone familiar with Iraq, Mr. Wolfowitz's statement can be interpreted either as childishly naive or deliberately misleading: Iraq is anything but a "single" people, and the complex composition of races, religions and politics will make a post-Saddam Iraq a veritable tinderbox that could result in a regional conflict far greater than that witnessed in the Balkans.



From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 12 March 2003 09:59 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Wow. The mind boggles.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
pogge
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2440

posted 12 March 2003 10:07 AM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This links to a map showing the ethnoreligious makeup of Iraq as of 1992. Feel free to download - there's no copyright on this.
From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 12 March 2003 10:11 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Isn't that interesting. I didn't know there were more Shi'a than Sunni Muslims in Iraq. For some reason I thought it was the other way around.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
pogge
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2440

posted 12 March 2003 10:16 AM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
No, the Shi'a are in the majority. And historically they have links with the Iranian Shi'a which is why Iranian troops have already been mobilized as well.

I suspect Wolfowitz knows all this perfectly well, even if Bush doesn't.

(Aside: The source for this map also provided a new nickname for Bush - Tipsy McStagger. I believe it was an American that gave it to him so they can't blame Canada for this one.)

[ 12 March 2003: Message edited by: Slim ]


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 12 March 2003 10:20 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well I know that the majority of Iranian Muslims are Shi'a, but for some reason, although I thought the Shi'a was a sizable minority in Iraq, I thought that was one of the major ethnic differences between the two countries - that most Iraqis were Arab Sunni Muslims and most Iranians were Persian Shi'a Muslims.

Live and learn. Of course, I'm not a Middle East correspondent either.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ronb
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2116

posted 12 March 2003 12:39 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There was an article by Jon Lee Anderson, I believe, in a recent New Yorker that explored the strange relationship between Iranian and Iraqi shia. A whole lot of Iraqi shia have ended up in Iran as refugees over the past decade, and there is some friction apparently. Anderson's contention is that the Iranians consider the Iraqi shia socially inferior, a bit like north v south Italy. Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim features prominently in the piece.
From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Whazzup?
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1471

posted 12 March 2003 01:06 PM      Profile for Whazzup?     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I didn't know there were more Shi'a than Sunni Muslims in Iraq. For some reason I thought it was the other way around.

That's a really common misconception, Michelle. I recently read something (now I can't remember where) that the notion of a "Shiite minority" in Iraq has been spread throughout the media -- in weighty articles in Foreign Affairs, and in Henry Kissinger Op-Eds in the Wall Street Journal.

Edited to add: Here's the article, in The American Prospect It's really very good:

quote:
Three years ago, the influential journal Foreign Affairs published an article on Iraq entitled "The Rollback Fantasy." It was a typically long and sober piece, challenging the thinking of those who were arguing for a United States role in toppling Iraq's ruler, Saddam Hussein. But unfortunately, the article contained its own odd piece of fantasy: In referring to "Iraq's Sunni majority," it managed to get one of the most basic pieces of demographic information about Iraq exactly backward. There is no Sunni majority. In proclaiming that the United States should back this alleged majority in a post-Saddam Iraq, while opposing either "Kurdish or Shiite bids for hegemony over the Sunnis," the magazine garbled its analysis. The Sunni Arabs who now govern Iraq make up no more than 17 percent of the population. As Foreign Affairs' editors noted two issues later: "Most Iraqis are Shiites. Our apologies."

In fact, as a quick look at a good almanac will tell you, Shiite Muslims make up at least 60 percent of Iraq's population, while Sunni Muslims (including Sunni Kurds and Sunni Arabs) are no more than 37 percent. These are important distinctions -- perhaps the most crucial facts to know about Iraq if one is speculating about a post-Saddam future for the country, as much of official Washington is these days.

Yet here was Henry Kissinger popping up on the op-ed page of The Washington Post in January referring to "the Sunni majority, which now dominates Iraq" and, for good measure, adding an observation about "the Shiite minority in the south." It seems to be a mistake that has staying power. A Washington Post editorial last spring also made mention of "minority Shiites from the south." And last month, New York Times reporter Todd S. Purdum worried in print "that a change in regime could leave Iraq's Shiite minority more empowered."

Neither the Post nor the Times has corrected the mistake, so we can surely expect to see more references in the U.S. press to a Shiite minority that does not exist -- not in the south of Iraq, not in the north, not in the country as a whole. Most Iraqis are Shiites.


[ 12 March 2003: Message edited by: Whazzup? ]


From: Under the Rubble | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
ronb
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2116

posted 12 March 2003 01:51 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think this may reflect an underlying US fear/dismissal of Iraqi Shia because they are far likelier to champion an Iranian style republic than the ruling Ba'thist Sunni are.
From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 12 March 2003 01:53 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As an aside, has anyone noticed the difference in city naming conventions in the Kurdish north and the Shi'ite south?
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
John Collins
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3199

posted 12 March 2003 09:17 PM      Profile for John Collins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
As an aside, has anyone noticed the difference in city naming conventions

Nothing that speaks to me significantly. What are you getting at, Doc?


From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
Babbler # 3804

posted 12 March 2003 10:56 PM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Post war Iraq...

If the United States liberates Iraq, then it is their responsibility to build the infastructure for the new Iraq. If they have to use war to liberate the Iraqi people, then they better damn well be there to help rebuild what they destroyed and then some.


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
pogge
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2440

posted 12 March 2003 10:57 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Who pays for it?
From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 12 March 2003 11:20 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Nothing that speaks to me significantly. What are you getting at, Doc?

Keep your pants on. I was just noting a difference in city naming in the north versus the south of Iraq as a matter of curiosity. You will note that all the major southern cities in the map start with "Al", similar to the construction used in other Arabic words such as "Al Jazeera", whereas in the North they lack this word.

I'm not much chop on Arabic linguistic variations, or whether there's a substantial Turkish-language influence in the northern bits of Iraq, so someone else will have to educate me on this.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
John Collins
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3199

posted 13 March 2003 12:10 AM      Profile for John Collins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I'm not much chop on Arabic linguistic variations, or whether there's a substantial Turkish-language influence in the northern bits of Iraq

Ah, I thought there was omething specific you had in mind, due to the .

I would guess that the differences you point out indicate the ethnic variations, since the Kurds do have their own languaage, which I don't believe has an Arabic root. The cities probably retain their ancient names, reflecting hereditary territory. Hmm . . . it would be interesting to look at a map of all the surrounding nations, to see if the placenames in the other four countries' portions of 'Kurdistan' are similar.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 888

posted 13 March 2003 12:15 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
'Al' is just Arabic for 'the', only used more liberally. The Kurds are very much their own people with their own language/set of dialects, completely different from Arabic--non-Semitic! Their language is also not Turkic. It belongs firmly in the Indo-European camp and is similar to Persian. Of course there have been Turkish and Arabic borrowings.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Moredreads
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3393

posted 15 March 2003 08:18 PM      Profile for Moredreads     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I was looking for a place for this, and I guess this is a good as any other:

quote:
"If the Turkish military enter (northern Iraq), I prefer Saddam's regime than Turkish intervention. The Turkish military is even more hostile than Saddam Hussein."

Yet Tommy Franks blithley suggests that 101st Airborne will simply
"...intervene to prevent fighting between Kurds and the Turks." Presumably while also being required to fight the Iraqi army in Northern Iraq.

It sounds like a lot of messy guess work to me, based on bad planing and, yes, plain ignorance of the facts on the ground.

[ 15 March 2003: Message edited by: Moredreads ]


From: Canada | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
pogge
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2440

posted 15 March 2003 08:42 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It sounds like a lot of messy guess work to me, based on bad planing and, yes, plain ignorance of the facts on the ground.

You forgot arrogance. Other than that I think you've much pretty much got it.


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Moredreads
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3393

posted 16 March 2003 04:22 AM      Profile for Moredreads     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
"The key to success is rapid victory on the ground, and bringing stability as quickly as you can," a former senior officer who commanded land forces during the gulf war said. "Based on what I know about the forces in the region, or flowing in, I am concerned they don't have enough to give high assurance they can do this quickly. It's strange for most of us. If we did it so well last time, using the Powell doctrine, why would you do anything less than that now? Why take that risk?"

More messiness.


From: Canada | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

   Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | rabble.ca | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008 rabble.ca