Mahmoud Sabit at PostGlobal

Mahmoud Sabit

Cairo, Egypt

Mahmoud Sabit is a historian and an authority on Egypt’s 19th century political reforms. Sabit also works as a writer and producer of historical documentaries. Close.

Mahmoud Sabit

Cairo, Egypt

Mahmoud Sabit is a historian and an authority on Egypt’s 19th century political reforms. more »

Main Page | Mahmoud Sabit Archives | PostGlobal Archives


« Previous Post | Next Post »

Let Iraqis Decide

Egypt - Any attempt to impose a three ethnic enclave solution against the wishes of the Iraqi people would be disastrous. Most Iraqis are against a partition of their country.

Neither the Sunni nor Shia'a would accept a divided Iraq. Both Shia'as Ayatollah Ali Sistani and Muqtada el Sadr have called for national unity. The Sunni insurgency composed of both former Arab nationalist Ba'ath, nationalists, and Muslim nationalists would also reject a dissolution of Iraq. The possible exception is the Kurds who may prefer a complete secession but would opt for a system of loose federalism. There is also no historical precedent for an Iraq based on separate ethnic enclaves.

The crux of the matter is crude oil, Iraq's extensive natural resource. Who would control which oil fields? To what extent should a centralized government control these regional oil resources? Oil should probably be used to promote Iraqi unity rather than disputes. There should be some mechanism that enables these resources to benefit the geographic regions in which they are located as well as serving the interests of a central government and Iraq as a whole.

An equally important question is about the future of the U.S. military in Iraq. Is the U.S. military presence part of the problem or part of the solution to Iraq's sectarian conflict? The U.S. certainly has a responsibility to Iraq to ensure that the country has a future. The United States went into Iraq, rearranged its political topography, overstayed its welcome, provoked an insurgency, and is now presiding helplessly over a brutal sectarian conflict that America has, by its presence, helped to provoke. Ultimately it is the U.S.'s responsibility to provide a framework in which the Iraqis can determine their own future. If the Iraqis believe that the U.S. would serve Iraq's best interest by remaining in Iraq, then the U.S. should stay. Conversely should the Iraqi's wish the U.S. to leave then the United States should comply and evacuate Iraq forthwith.

Would a U.S. evacuation reduce the ongoing ethnic killings? Would a precipitate U.S. evacuation of Iraq expand the sectarian conflict into a full scale civil war? Would this civil war witness small localized militias that coalesce into large military formation? Would these formations impose unilateral military solutions over the rest of the country? The dissolution could well involve the regional powers and draw Iran and the Arab countries into a vicious sectarian war by proxy fought at the expense of Iraq. Or would a U.S. withdrawal reduce the level of the conflict sufficiently to a point where an equitable political and economic solution could be reached through negotiation, without the presence of an intrusive and resented U.S. military occupation? It is up to the Iraqi's to answer these questions.

Please e-mail PostGlobal if you'd like to receive an email notification when PostGlobal sends out a new question.

Email the Author | Del.icio.us | Digg | Facebook

Reader Response

ALL COMMENTS (231)

Post a comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

Categories

  • America's Role
  • Business and Technology
  • Culture and Society
  • Environment
  • Human Rights
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Islamic Movements
  • Israel-Palestine
  • Security and Terrorism
  • The Global Economy
  • The New Asia
PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send your comments, questions and suggestions for PostGlobal to Lauren Keane, its editor and producer.