Saturday, October 08, 2005

A Chance - Perhaps?

Returning to the important issue of the future of Iraq, it is worth reading Peter Galbraiths description of the work leading up to the draft constitution as well as his views on its prospects.

Peter was once US Ambassador to Croatia - we worked rather closely together in 1995 on some of the issues of that region - but has since worked extensively primarily with the Kurds in northern Iraq, acting as a key advisor to the leaders there.

So, he writes with considerable insight although with that perspective.

His conclusions are mildly - very mildly, one might say - optimistic:

"The constitution might bring stability to Iraq, a country now on the edge of full-scale civil war. Underneath an Islamic veneer, Iraq's new constitution ratifies the division of Iraq into three disparate entities: Kurdistan in the north, an Iranian-influenced Islamic state in the south, and, in the center, a Sunni region that has no clear political identity, but that with luck and concerted diplomacy could be governed by a new generation of Sunni Arab leaders. The constitution provides a basis for resolving Iraq's most contentious issues: oil, territory, and the competition to be the dominant power in Baghdad. If these issues are not addressed, they could set off a widespread civil war."

He sees a chance that the constitution might bridge the divides of the country, but if this does not happen, he sees it as a vehicle that would facilitate some sort of divorce.

Whether such a divorce would be peaceful or not is another question which he does not addess. I would guess that Peter - with his Balkan background - would share my assessment that a divorce would be very bloody indeed.