The author of the paper talks about ethnic and sectarian divisions in Iraq but he does not mention the machiavelian role played by the the US-UK aggressors/occupiers (what he calls the 'Multinational Force') in creating, feeding and exacerbating these divisions.
The title of the report is "Accepting Realities in Iraq" , yet in his report the author does not recommend the withdrawal of foreign occupation troops from Iraq despite the fact that the great majority of Iraqis want an immediate end to the foreign occupation of their country. The author of this report should begin by accepting 'THIS IRAQI REALITY"!
Everyone knows that the foreign occupation forces ARE the main reason for the violence in Iraq. Iraq is not an Anglo-American colony and Iraqis reject this fait accompli. Furthermore, Iraqis do not need the advice of arrogant and biased foreign 'experts' and 'analysts'.
Notice how when writing about "the return of the exiles in Kerkuk" the British think-tank put the Turkmens in the last position...
Accepting Realities in Iraq, is a new Briefing Paper written by Dr Gareth Stansfield and published on Thursday 16 May by Chatham House.
Iraq: fragmentation and civil wars - new paper
Thursday 17 May 2007
There is not 'one' civil war, nor 'one' insurgency, but several civil wars and insurgencies between different communities in today's Iraq. Within this warring society, the Iraqi government is only one among many 'state-like' actors, and is largely irrelevant in terms of ordering social, economic, and political life. It is now possible to argue that Iraq is on the verge of being a failed state which faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation. These are some of the key findings of Accepting Realities in Iraq a new Briefing Paper written by Dr Gareth Stansfield and published today by Chatham House.
The paper also assesses Al-Qaeda activity within Iraq, especially in the major cities in the centre and north of the country. Dr Stansfield argues that, although Al-Qaeda is challenged by local groups, there is momentum behind its activity. Iraq's neighbors too have a greater capacity to affect the situation on the ground than either the UK or the US. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all have different reasons for seeing the instability in Iraq continue, and each uses different methods to influence developments.
Dr Stansfield argues that with the myriad conflicts in Iraq following societal, religious and political divides and often involving state actors, the multinational forces are finding it exceptionally difficult to promote security normalization. The recent US 'surge' in Baghdad looks likely to have simply pushed insurgent activity to neighbouring cities and cannot deliver the required political accommodation. A political solution will require Sunni Arab representatives’ participation in government, the recognition of Moqtada al-Sadr as a legitimate political partner, and a positive response to Kurdish concerns. Further, it would be a mistake to believe that the political forces in Iraq are weak and can be reorganized by the US or the international community, there must be ‘buy-in’ from the key Iraqi political actors.
Dr Stansfield says: ‘The coming year will be pivotal for Iraq. The internecine fighting and continual struggle for power threatens the nation’s very existence in its current form. An acceptance of the realities on the ground in Iraq and a fundamental rethinking of strategy by coalition powers are vital if there is to be any chance of future political stability in the country.’
To read the full report :
Kerkuk and the disputed territories
The future of Kerkuk can be closely related to the overall future of Iraq. If compromises and solutions can be found in this most archetypal of divided cities, so the argument goes, then power-sharing and conflict-management solutions can be found for the rest of Iraq’s problems There is, perhaps, reason to be optimistic that Kerkuk’s future will be resolved relatively peacefully (in an Iraqi sense) There is, after all, a designated process to follow (Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution) and, contrary to the direst of predictions about Kerkuk being where the Iraqi civil war would first break out (this occurred instead in Baghdad), its divided population has not as yet engaged in wholesale slaughter, even following waves of bombings.
It is possible that the reason why fighting has not yet taken hold in Kerkuk as it has in Baghdad, and even in Mosul, is that the decision regarding Kerkuk’s future has been put off ever since 2003. But it cannot be put off any longer. The political process stipulated by Article 140 outlines a three-stage process involving ‘normalization’ (i.e. the removal of Arab families and the return of Kurdish, Assyrian and Turkmen exiles); ‘census’, whereby the demographic characteristics of Kerkuk will be taken following normalization; and, finally a ‘referendum’ that will ask whether the population of Kerkuk governorate wishes to merge with the Kurdistan Region or remain outside it.
This year is likely to see the tide of violence rise in Kerkuk as the Kurds are determined that Article 140 process will be followed and that a referendum will be held by December 2007, whereas non-Kurds are determined to prevent the referendum from taking place. Without a referendum, there is serious risk of Kurdish-initiated violence; with one, there is a serious risk of non-Kurdish-initiated violence.
Kerkuk, federalism and oil, combined with the security concerns, the targeting of Iran and the implementation of US policy in Iraq and the wider region, all come together in 2007, creating the likelihood that the situation in Iraq will get much worse before it can get better. Many different agendas, processes and forces will converge in the near future, making it more likely that Iraq will lurch from crisis to crisis in 2007 than enjoy improved security and follow a constructive political process involving dialogue among its communities. Feeding into these developments will be the regional powers of the Middle-East, and particularly Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Turkey and the Kurds
For Turkey, the further consolidation of the KRG in Iraq is something that needs to be carefully scrutinized, if not stopped outright, and Kurdish attempts to secure Kerkuk and control of its own oil resources should be prevented. In order to achieve this, Turkey has chosen to follow a range of policies, including direct threats against the Kurdistan Region (in February, for example, some 60-70,000 troops were moved to the border), and holding conferences to highlight the plight of the Turkmen in Kerkuk. These policies have not been particularly successful as the Iraqi government – itself influenced heavily by prominent Kurdish politicians – and the US administration are unwilling to force the Kurds to back down on their demands, and there is certainly no attempt to dismantle the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and forcibly reintegrate it into Iraq.