Tuesday, December 05, 2006

James Kurth on Crushing Iraq's Sunni Insurgency

From The New Republic (ht Foreign Policy Research Institute):
The Sunni Arabs of Iraq have much to answer for. Since they have
always made up a rather small minority--about 15 to 20 percent of
the country's total population--the regimes they created were
historically authoritarian ones. They compensated for their small
base by employing especially brutal methods against their Kurdish
and Shia neighbors. Successive Sunni governments became
steadily more repressive, leading eventually to the rule of the Baath
Party and culminating in the ferocious regime of Saddam Hussein.

Baathist Iraq was often compared to Nazi Germany: Saddam was
said to play the role of Adolf Hitler and the Baath Party that of the Nazi
Party. A more accurate comparison, however, would analogize the Baath
Party to the Waffen S.S., the Nazi Party's elite unit, and the Sunni Arab
community to the Nazi Party as a whole, which eventually made up as much
as 15 percent of Germany's population.

But, unlike their Nazi counterparts in Germany in 1945, the Sunni
Arabs in Iraq in 2003 were not totally defeated, devastated, and
demoralized by the time their government was toppled.
Consequently, they were soon able to initiate and support a vicious
insurgency. Even now, when Shia militias are taking their revenge
on the Sunni community and only the U.S. military stands in the
way of its decimation, opinion polls show that nearly 90 percent of
Sunnis approve of insurgent attacks on U.S. troops.

Many commentators have suggested partitioning Iraq into three
states--Shia, Kurdish, and Sunni. This would be a good solution in
many respects (analogous to the partitioning of the former
Yugoslavia), except that any Sunni state would be dominated by
an Islamist regime created by the insurgents, who would claim that
they had defeated and driven out the U.S. military and would
continue to inflict murder and mayhem upon their Shia and Kurdish
neighbors. This is why the Sunnis have to be subordinated so that
they have no state at all. The result would be an Iraq partitioned
into two states--a Shia one in the center (including Baghdad) and
the south and a Kurdish one in the north.