Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tripartite Iraq? Bipartite? Or still unified, with new boundaries?

Abu Aardvark’s excellent article on what appears to be the final collapse of Sunni participation in the government of Iraq got me to thinking about what the longer-term results might be.

I know that a number of pundits, some historians and even a few American politicians have bandied about the idea of a tripartite Iraq, on Shi’a/Sunni Kurd lines. It’s usually presented as if this were the only realistic option (by politicians and pundits), or the most likely actual option (by historians).

In any case, a tripartite Iraq vs. current Iraq are presented as the only two outcomes, usually. But, the Sufi philosopher Idries Shah once said, “There are never just two sides to any situation,” and that is the case here.

For example, what if Sunnis, Shi’as, Iranians and Turks combine to do a partition of Poland move on the Kurdish state? Then, we’re down to a bipartite Iraq.

Or, what if Kurds and Shia’s stay together, with a Sunni area making a formal declaration of independence? Then we have a bipartite Iraq.

Or, what if the Saudis get so frustrated they issue an invitation to the Sunni area to let itself be taken under the Saudi wing? To appease Bush, they could make this as innocuous as possible, but then complete the annexation during the heat of the presidential election season or just after, confident they can then get away with it. Then, we have a still unified, but shrunken, Iraq, with an enlarged Saudia Arabia now having even more of both oil reserves and Falafist fundamentalists in its midst.

Cross-posted at Socratic Gadfly and Watching Those We Choose.