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What can be expected of Europe in Iraq?

Editor's note by Nanne: The following entry was written by Migeru, an editor of the progressive community blog 'The European Tribune'. It is a scenario on the chances for European action on Iraq, based upon the principles of 'human rights' and 'riding the wave'.

As a recent post by Jörg revealed, there may be renewed interest in a European policy on Iraq. Beyond the current lack of any coordinated policy and the expectation that a European policy should consist of helping out America, a broad range of options exists.

This shortened version of Migeru's European Tribune diary is a first step in exploring some of those options.

It seems that European (Union) involvement in sorting out Bush's Iraqi misadventure has become a hot topic again [as shown by diaries of Magnifico and Joerg in Berlin - Nanne]. Jörg's diary especially got me thinking about what could be expected of European Union involvement in Iraq, and what a European strategy should be. My tentative answer is based on two principles: human rights and riding the wave.

Human Rights

It may be unrealistic to think of the EU as postcolonialist, but in any case I personally would like to see European Union foreign policy built around a true concern for Human Rights (counterexample). It is true that Iraq is everyone's problem even if the blame for the current mess can be pinned almost exclusively on the US. A spillover of violence from Iraq would be of concern to Europe, the Middle East is relatively close and accessible, and we need the oil, too. But instead of traditional geopolitical power-plays and grand-chessboard strategy, assume that the EU's concern would simply be to help Iraq contain the bleeding, restore a semblance of dignity and respect for human rights, and allow a civil society to emerge from the ashes. What would be the strategy, and what would be the roadblocks along the way?

Riding the wave

One metaphor that is sometimes seen in geopolitical discussions is that of Judo - use the opponent's momentum for your own goals. This, of course, requires adapting one's goals to the direction in which the opponent is going. Or, in less adversarial terms, going with the flow, riding the wave, following the Tao.

So the first thing to consider is where the flow is going, what the likely outcome would be if things were left to themselves, and whether that can be modified slightly to conform to the EU's goal (again: dignity and human rights in Iraq). I would claim that Iraq is in a civil war and that the likely outcome of political developments in Iraq would be either partition or a loose federation, both along ethnic lines with a special treatment needed for Baghdad and Kirkuk. Also, I would claim that the EU could live with a partitioned Iraq. The goal of respect for human rights is compatible with it as long as efforts are made to accommodate minorities instead of ethnically cleansing them. Politics might become less sectarian along ethnic lines in each of the successor states to a partitioned Iraq, which would help. In a country with three large ethnic groups it is very easy for the system to degenerate into shifting alliances where two of them gang up on the third and that is inherently undesirable.

Short of partition, one could have a confederation or loose federation consisting of Sunni Iraq, Shia Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan, with Baghdad and Kirkuk as multi-ethnic city-states.


Who would stand in the way of such an endpoint and why? First of all, the Iraqi Sunni would be left with very little water or oil. In addition, they used to be the politically dominant ethnic group under Saddam and would resent either losing access to resources or a marginal role (compared to the Shia) in a federal Iraq.

The Shia Iraq would emerge as the strongest of the parts, to the benefit of Iran. This is not good news for Saudi Arabia. Not only is its particularly toxic  Wahhabi regime in the antipodes of Iran theologically, but also Saudi Arabia's oil is sitting under the region where its own Shia minority lives, along the border to Iraq. An independent and oil-rich Shia Iraq would appear to pose a serious internal threat. In fact, it appears that Saudi Arabia would prefer to have another Sunni leader subjugate the Shia regions. They probably would not mind a new Saddam.

It also appears that Turkey wouldn't tolerate an independent (or even an autonomous) Iraqi Kurdistan. This is for internal reasons as Turkey has an unresolved issue with its own Kurdish minority, as well as because there is a Turkmen minority in the Iraqi Kurdistan which Turkey would feel compelled to assist. The conflict around Kirkuk involves this Turkmen minority as well as oil. Note that Turkey is a NATO member.

The US would side with Saudi Arabia and the Iraqi Sunni against Iran and the Iraqi Shia and probably be ambivalent about the Kurdish/Turkish side of the conflict.


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Pat Patterson on :

Probably two minor problems before the Europeans can ride to the rescue, carefully covering up the Crusader regalia. Well, actually three. The first being that the shooting hasn't stopped and it is similar to that snowball's chances in H... before any European nation not currently there will send troops to defend the caring professionals. The second in being that if the current trends hold true the US is unlikely to turn over any influence it has in Iraq to the Europeans. And third, that the Iraqis themselves might definitely lust after trade but too many will remember who their allies were and were not. But since the Iraqi constitution calls for a unitary Federal state that the Europeans, at least as Migeru posits, are willing to jettison without much consultation with the Iraqis who just might be capable of judging what is the best example to follow. Other than that I believe the old UN building is still available and with a little contract work, new carpets, ten-foot thick blast resistant walls and that ubiquitous Polish plumber than the nation building experts from Europe can move right in. And like VP Cheney hinted at they can expect a carpet of rose petals strewn at their feet by an adoring crowd of Sunnis(maybe not), Shias (probably not) and Kurds (defintely and emphatically not). Well, maybe the Chaldeans might be happy since their popularity ratings, considering their cooperation with Saddam, have not been too great lately.

Migeru on :

You will notice I am not advocating Europe to send troops in. I agree with you that the shooting hasn't stopped and moreover I don't think a foreign force can make is stop without substantial brutality and casualties which the US isn't willing to provide either. On your second point, I think the US and the EU would be at cross-purposes on Iraq if the EU could find a common purpose to its foreign policy. On the third point we (and the Americans) have already jettisoned constitutions and federal unity in the former Yugoslavia. To paraphrase (gasp) Thomas Friedman as quoted in one of the comments to the ET version of this post, what do you think Iraq resembles most? Post WWII Germany, or late-1990's Yugoslavia? When I think about the future politics of Iraq I see Bosnia or Lebanon, not Belgium. Finally, this article is in response to the two articles linked in the first paragraph: one by Atlantic Review editor Joerg who makes it a habit of asking the question "what is Europe going to do about Iraq/Afghanistan?" with some regularity. I always reply to him not to expect much - and that if we knew what we wanted to accomplish and how the US would probably not let us. The second article is by Magnifico, an American, who thinks the best the EU can do at this point is to eject the US troops from Iraq by vetoing the Iraqi government's request for an extension of the UN mandate. I disagree with that, too - if that's what the Iraqi government wants there's no reason not to grant it and it's much better than the "permanent" bilateral agreement Bush is [url=]allegedly seeking[/url] (linked from the "tips from our readers" section of this site). To sum up, I am not optimistic. I don't think Iraq is going to achieve peace and stability as long as the US presence inflames the insurgency, and if the US leaves it is not clear the government or the Constitution is at all stable. Moreover, the US and Israel are rattling sabres at Iran, and Turkey [i]has[/i] already carried out air strikes in Iraqi Kurdistan (and apparently [url=]Iran too[/url]). So the most the EU can be expected to do in Iraq is to try to use what diplomatic clout it has on Turkey (being squandered), Iran (little), and the Iraqi factions (maybe none) to try to avert the civil war spilling over to neighbouring countries. And yes, I see partition in the cards within the next decade.

Pat Patterson on :

Minor quibble in that Yugoslavia has been an example of a country without a working constitution since its constituent parts fell away from each other after Tito died. There is no desire for partition in Iraq, unlike Yugoslavia which accomplished partition at the point of not suicide bombings but full pitch modern manuever warfare. And as to a vision of a future Iraq I tend to think of 1866 and look to the US after its Civil War when practically every major European leader and newspaper proclaimed that the US was too weak, in spite of the outcome of the war, to hold itself together and would eventually be forced to partition itself. The best thing that the EU could do right now is get its own house in order then offer the kinds of things to Iraq that they are capable. Basically that means investments to rebuild the infrastructures, finish that darned Berlin to Baghdad railroad and in spite of the claims of a post colonialist reality treat the Iraqis as sovereign people and not five-year olds with Kalishnikovs and strange religious beliefs. And possibly end referencing unsourced and unconfirmed opinion pieces from the Cockburn family.

Elisabetta on :

Well so the French are dreaming up another wildly arbitrary plan for partitioning the local wogs. Doesn't this douchebag understand that Iraq has been sovereign since 2004? Violating your constitution at hte behest of your former colonial masters isn't going to effect that 'spirit of dignity', no? Kurdistan has been de facto autonomous since '91 and de jure from 04 (within a granted evolving federal system). How have the Turks thrown a spanner in the works? (thats nobody's business but the Turks). No citations to important foundations of the argument; just misinformed opinion and highly speculative/dubious arguments. This post sucks and whoever posted it, I'm looking at you Nanne, go sit in the corner.

John in Michigan, USA on :

"thats nobody's business but the Turks" Quoting [url=]They Might Be Giants[/url], are we? Come to think of it, why [i]did[/i] Constantinople get the works?

Migeru on :

I'm not French, and I thought people had snapped out of Cheese-Eating-Surrender-Monkey-bashing mode a couple of years ago already. Are you still stuck in 2003? Is calling people a "douchebag" the debating standard on this site? Regarding the Constitution, sovereignty and partition, if the US leaves Iraq that will be all up for grabs again. And as I argued to Pat above, I think Iraq is more like Lebanon or Bosnia than like Switzerland or Belgium. So you think whether Turkey wants to get involved in Iraq militarily is only Turkey's business? Let's see: [url=]Border Crisis between Turkey, Iraq Worsens U.S.-Turkey Ties (Council on Foreign Relations)[/url], and you just have to [url=]google "turkey iraq"[/url] to see the current state of play. The only country in the region that the Eu has some leverage with might be Turkey, and as I argue in the article right-wing posturing against Turkish accession to the EU (led, of all people, by the [b]French[/b] you think I represent) is pissing that leverage away. But hey, sniping at eurotrash is fun, isn't it?

Nanne on :

Iraqi sovereignty is a myth. The US has just started giving back the airspace above 29,000 feet in some parts of the country and seems to have permanent designs for the airspace below, as well as planning 50 permanent bases, and so on (see [url=]independent story[/url]). The way I read Migeru's scenario, he is not arguing in favour of partitioning Iraq. Rather, he is saying that a looser federation is the most likely outcome and Europe should not resist the inherent course the process in Iraq is following, but play into it. I do agree with the principle that Europe should not try to structurally craft developments in Iraq (we don't have the power, and probably have ill-fitted ideas). I do not know if Iraq is necessarily moving in the direction of partition. It's one of many likely contigencies we'd have to consider for drawing up an Iraq policy. The post has elicited some thought, so I stand by it.

Elisabetta on :

Nanne even if you concede that a story entitled 'the secret plan to keep Iraq und US control' is the gospel truth and that an unnamed Iraqi who maintains--"Washington also wants control of Iraqi airspace below 29,000ft and the right to pursue its "war on terror" in Iraq, giving it the authority to arrest anybody it wants and to launch military campaigns without consultation", a putative agmt between Washington and Baghdad would not, point in fact, destroy Iraqi sovereignty. The deal, as reported by the Independent, is: "50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government." Sounds pretty much like the standard NATO agmt except for the power of arrest over Iraqi citizens. Many of these sovereign powers which ostensibly have been delegated sub rosa to the Americans are the same that the members of the EU have ceded to Brussels or the Pentagon. Is Germany sovereign? Can't Germany withdraw from the EU in a sovereign act? I think so. Just cause they're brown don't mean Montevideo doesn't apply. Articles like this is why the Independent can not afford to print a paper edition--unnamed sources and vague leaks; sounds fun actually.

Migeru on :

The Independent cannot afford to print a paper edition? What? Anyway, try [url=]the NYT[/url], then:[quote]This emerging American negotiating position faces a potential buzz saw of opposition from Iraq, with its fragmented Parliament, weak central government and deep sensitivities about being seen as a dependent state, according to these officials. ... The American negotiating position for a formal military-to-military relationship, one that would replace the current United Nations mandate, is laid out in a draft proposal that was described by White House, Pentagon, State Department and military officials on ground rules of anonymity. It also includes less controversial demands that American troops be immune from Iraqi prosecution, and that they maintain the power to detain Iraqi prisoners. However, the American quest for protections for civilian contractors is expected to be particularly vexing, because in no other country are contractors working with the American military granted protection from local laws. Some American officials want contractors to have full immunity from Iraqi law, while others envision less sweeping protections. These officials said the negotiations with the Iraqis, expected to begin next month, would also determine whether the American authority to conduct combat operations in the future would be unilateral, as it is now, or whether it would require consultation with the Iraqis or even Iraqi approval.[/quote]Also anonymous leaks, no wonder the NYT is a joke of a paper and cannot afford to print a paper edition either.

Anonymous on :

a miss in point : jealousy "Doesn't this douchebag understand that Iraq has been sovereign since 2004?" yeah ? how comes that "sovereignity" really represents the people volition there ? puppet oh my puppet... it's not the Frenchs that were on Irak colony, but the Brits... bizarre though that the Iraki president asks a french mediation, something has to be digged in "french arab policy", the old lady has more than 60 years by now

Kevin Sampson on :

"Saudi Arabia's oil is sitting under the region where its own Shia minority lives, along the border to Iraq." Most of Saudi Arabia's oil is in the Ghawar field which is down by Dhahran and nowhere near the Iraqi border. I also find it interesting that Europe is thinking about becoming involved in Iraq now just as Obama has secured the nomination. If Obama wins, and keeps his pledge to withdraw all US forces in 16 months, will the Euros go it alone? When monkeys fly out of my ass. This looks to me like a bit of opportunistic political posturing indulged in because they think there is no chance they will ever have to actually do it. I wonder what will happen if John 'stay for a hundred years' McCain wins?

Migeru on :

The Ghawar field is likely in decline, having peaked, and [url=]Qatif project[/url] is currently the single largest oil resource [i]measured by production[/i]. [url =]Qatif[/url]'s population is almost all Shia and apart from a productive oi field, it has a lot of water (the largest oasis in the world). I don't think "Europe" (do you know who to phone to talk to Europe? I don't, yet) has any intention of getting involved in Iraq, but a lot of liberal americans (see the link to Magnifico's post) or European Atlanticists (see the link to the post by Atlantic Review's own Joerg) have been asking for European involvement. My article is a reply to both saying, if you got European involvement, this is the [i]most[/i] you could hope for. You don't like it? I don't either, I don't advocate it, then I get called an isolationist blame-shifter by Magnifico. Now, question, if Obama does leave in 16 months, now will Iraq avoid devolving into a civil war again, with at least Turkey and Iran and probably Saudi Arabia getting involved, too?

Kevin Sampson on :

"do you know who to phone to talk to Europe? I don't, yet" +33 (0)3 88 41 20 00 And I won't call you an isolationist blame-shifter, since I am quite the isolationist myself where military and political affairs are concerned. As for what will happen in Iraq if Obama bails, I have no idea and neither does he. But if you think that will stop him, you're fooling yourself.

John in Michigan, USA on :

[b]Human Rights[/b]: I spent a while reading Migeru's post and following the links provided. I confess I will probably need some sort of transatlantic encyclopedia to figure out what exactly is meant by "a true concern for Human Rights", In the context of the counterexample provided. Once I figure that out, it will allow me to ask the question, what, if anything, does Mirgeru's "true concern for Human Rights" have in common with the Iraqi Arab, Iraqi Shiite, or Iraqi Kurd conception of human rights? And, can "true" human rights be pursued in a vacuum, without addressing the question of democratic government, rule of law, and economic freedom? [b]Judo - use the opponent's momentum for your own goals[/b]: While civil war will always be a danger in Iraq, Migeru seems to think the momentum is currently towards civil war. This was arguably true before 2007, but things have changed since then. By any fair comparison of this year to last year, or even this month to last month, Iraq's momentum is [i]away[/i] from civil war, not towards it. There is of course debate over the causes of this -- some say it is because the coalition tactics are suceeding while al-Quaeda in Iraq and the Madi army tactics are alienating the people; others say it is because ethnic cleansing has run its course. In order to apply the principles of Judo, the causes of an opponents motion are of course relevant, but [i]the first thing is to correctly judge the direction of the opponent's momentum[/i]. The failure to understand fundamental current conditions in Iraq suggests that Migeru's application of Judo will be similarly flawed.

Migeru on :

An "untrue concern for Human Rights" means using human rights as a cover for other geopolitical goals. I say in the post that I would only want the EU to get involved in Iraq with the goal to prevent an escalation of civl war, stop the killings and reach a stable end result through diplomacy. The troop deployment needed to stop a civil war as an external power is larger than even the US is willing to pony up, the level of brutality required is larger than anyone in a Western democracy is willing to be responsible for, and the casualties that would be sustained are, well, politically unsustainable. Now, if diplomacy alone won't work, then nothing will, and that is quite likely. And the EU has few leverage points. This is generally my response to Atlanticist Europeans like Joerg who seem to think Europe has a responsibility for fixing Iraq and moreover, that it actually can. On the momentum, it is indeed possible that I am out of date and that the Surge is working. Only time will tell.

John in Michigan, USA on :

" is indeed possible that I am out of date..." Finally some talk about things that are real. Hasn't that just been the problem all along? Europe's tendency to endless debate, and utopian need for consensus, is hopeless in a situation as volatile as Iraq. By the time the precious consensus is formed and articulated, the opponents (al-Q, Mahdi, mafias, Iran, etc.) have had ample time to see it coming and is prepared to exploit its weak points. It seems they understand Judo better than you-do (heh). The opponents' position, generally speaking, is that there is no such thing as true human rights, outside of Islam. In other words, a very different conception of human rights than the traditional, Enlightenment approach, very different even than whatever progressive/collectivist notion of group rights that you may believe in. You seem to have ducked this question completely: what does your idea of human rights and theirs have in common? Instead, you seem to have embraced the assumptions of the Bush doctrine that human rights are in some sense universal. Your complaint seems to be that we are not sincere. Well we are, but based on the quality of your insight so far, I don't expect to be able to convince you of that. So, consider this: surely we can agree that the UN's Sergio de Mello had an agenda of true human rights? Yet he was slaughtered, and among the reasons given was this: he had "forced" Muslims to give away Muslim land in East Timor, and he had come to Iraq to do the same. In other words, he was thought to have an ulterior motive. You yourself write "It may be unrealistic to think of the EU as postcolonialist". How will you convince the relevant parties that you are not part of the international, neo-colonial Zionist conspiracy that controls the weather and caused the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake (conveniently timed near Christmas)? You yourself don't seem entirely convinced that you are not! The Surge is working, so far, in part because we have made progress doing just that. We have embarrassed and discredited al-Q to the point where Iraqis can now openly acknowledge what they had already learned through painful experience: that al-Q wants nothing for Iraq but to soak it in blood (Iraqi blood, preferably), and will bring nothing but misery and lies (and marketplaces in which the vegetables are segregated by sex -- [url=]seriously[/url]!). The current, sovereign Iraqi government is now showing the Mahdi army et. al. to be weak, which permits the Iraqi street to acknowledge what they've known all along: the Mahdi army is an Iranian front, with a hidden agenda. Iraqis have also noticed that the people responsible for Abu Ghraib have been punished, which never happens in middle eastern dictatorships, and that conditions in today's Abu Ghraib, which is entirely under Iraqi management, are much worse than when we ran the place. We are convincing the Iraqis that we do have an agenda, but we aren't trying to hide it. al-Q wants to steal their faith; Iran wants to steal their oil. We want their oil too, but we are willing to pay for it. In other words, they are starting to understand that we have a flawed but real (as opposed to utopian) concern for human rights. You completely duck the question, how can human rights be pursued in a vacuum, i.e. without the rest of the Bush democracy agenda? Even if you don't trust the sincerity of the Bush agenda, the question is still relevant. Finally, it seems your concern for "true" human rights seems to boil down to a kinder, gentler ethnic cleansing. [url=]Didn't UN peacekeepers already try this in Srebrenica[/url]? Do you think that won't be brought up and exploited in Iraq?

Nanne on :

John, The Mahdi army is just one militia with which Iran maintains relations. The degree of backing for the [url=]Badr corps[/url] militia, which has pretty much morphed into the current Iraqi government, has always been stronger. In this shiite - shiite clash, I don't see Iran taking sides. For Iran, it makes sense to hedge bets as the state would want to get a large degree of influence in a stabilised Iraq but would also want to keep the US bogged down, in order to be able to inflict greater pain on the US should it choose to attack Iran.

John in Michigan, USA on :

I agree, Iranians have tried to gain control and influence with all the major Iraqi Shiite factions, not just the Mahdi militia, and, as far as anyone can tell, have been more successful with the Badr Corps than with the Mahdi Army. That is why I used the inelegant phrase "which permits the Iraqi street to acknowledge what they've known all along: the Mahdi army is an Iranian front, with a hidden agenda" instead of a more straightforward phrasing. But at least the Badr movement is working as part of the elected government, instead of a self-appointed militia. That is major progress. The goal of "the resistance", including but not limited to al-Q, was to make Iraq ungovernable. They are failing, and true human rights will benefit immeasurably because of it. I dare say it is in Europe's best interest for other reasons, as well. Part of what I was trying to suggest is that the Iraqis themselves know all about hidden agendas. Migeru's poorly conceived, naive Euro-Judo makes Bush's surge strategy (which really, belongs to Petraeus, Kagan, and McCain) look like Sun Tzu's Art of War by comparison. Indeed, the danger that Iraq's government already is, or will become, an Iranian client, is real. The only solution I can see for this to push as much as possible for regular elections, so that the Iraqi shiites (and the other Iraqis) can judge for themselves whether their leadership has gotten too close to Iran....or too close to the US, for that matter. They are by far in the best position to judge. And of course we need to have at least minimal rule of law, to limit the amount of corruption in elections, and to avoid electing a dictatorship (one election one time, etc). I just hope the Iraqi government will be able to govern Basra and Sadr City better than the militias it displaced.

Migeru on :

Thanks for your thoughtful and substantive comments.

Pat Patterson on :

Considering that Sadr is in Qom receiving instruction on how to become a mullah then, yes, he has no religious title other than as a descendant of Muhammed, arguing that he is not favored by Iran seems fanciful. The dagger at the heart of Iran is that traditionally, except for the last few decades, is that the Shia looked to Iraq for philosphical and scholarly leadership, leadership that is currently being supplied by al-Sistani. Who like Ho Chi Minh turned against his hosts as soon as he could. Plus just this weekend Maliki visited Iran to try to calm their fears that Iraq would be used as a jumping off point for an American-Iraqi invasion of Iran. That certainly doesn't sound like the leader of a country that views itself as a 98-pound weakling. I'm also not too sure about that "bogged down" argument as that keeps the bulk of the US Army in Iraq, with their equipment and a Navy nearby, rather than in Germany. Iran Knows that American doctrine can still assemble at least two heavy mechanized divisions with air assets and naval support in 60 days or less. Any increase in Iranian support to Iraqi irregulars better be perfect and timely as Iran simply will not be able to do that and resist a large scale incursion around the Shaat al-Arab.

Joe Noory on :

Why wouldn't they? They installed the King deposed by an uneducated rogue militant who, although Baathist which had its' origins in fascism, a European invention, later added the notions of Arab nationalists which were inspired by Socialism and authoritarian statism - also European exports. After which, he did pretty nicely manufacturing poison gas using European IMports. It gave Saddam the edge he needed to go to war with Iran, as did a surplus of Russian, Chinese, and European weapons did to step into Kuwait. But, as we all know, America is at the root cause! I don't expect someone who contributers to the fevered writings at "The European Tribune" blog to accept any of that, but when does this sick little obsession with America causing every ill emotion including original sin and greed take people who otherwise advocate bad ideas and makes them completly irrational? Especially if it's been going on since 1965, and as The European Tribune shows us, there will always be people who rationalize authoritarianism, confuse private acts with government acts, blur any line conveninet to them, and engage in zombie-like idol worship for a manl like Obama who has never accomplished one substantive thing in his life and can make people fall for a campaign worthy of a Hollywood production.

Elisabetta on :

I'm not French, and I thought people had snapped out of Cheese-Eating-Surrender-Monkey-bashing mode a couple of years ago already. Are you still stuck in 2003? Never called you French, 'a cheese eating surrender monkey' or eurotrash, though I did call you a douchebag. It must have been prompted by your neo-colonialist, patriarchial and aggresively phallagocentric disdain for the sovereigny of 3rd world countries, uttering such nonesense as "Iraq is in a civil war", or crafting a proposal to frustrate Iraqi self-determination while basing in on 'human rights'. Regarding the Constitution, sovereignty and partition, if the US leaves Iraq that will be all up for grabs again. And as I argued to Pat above, I think Iraq is more like Lebanon or Bosnia than like Switzerland or Belgium. Conjecture poisoned by prejudice. We know that Iraqis have braved bodily injury to vote for a constitutional convention and for parliamentary elections. There does not seem to be wide-spread antipathy towards the Constitution. Outside of the PKK hardliners, no political party has dissolution on its political platform. The PKK are lying low. Things could go south, it is the middle east, but no definitive piece of information objectives points that way with the exception of ethnic topography. So you think whether Turkey wants to get involved in Iraq militarily is only Turkey's business? Let's see: Border Crisis between Turkey, Iraq Worsens U.S.-Turkey Ties (Council on Foreign Relations), and you just have to google "turkey iraq" to see the current state of play. It is Turkey's insoluble problem. They are militarily unable to dislodge the PKK from their mountain tops. The Peshmerga has forced the PKK to refrain from large-scale attacks so there is no public outcry to invade. What is Turkey going to do? The current gov is about to be thrown out by the Constitutional Court; inflation is making a comeback and the gulf money that incited its economic revival is going elsewhere. Look at the measures the Law and Justice party has undertaken with its parliamentary majority ( had an article on it a few days ago without broaching the more important topic its assault on the secular educational system either).

quo vadis on :

Itís difficult to take seriously anyone who produces an analysis of Iraqís future that fails to take into consideration the changes that have taken place over the previous year. The Bush administrationís Iraq policy failed due to their stubborn unwillingness to consider any evidence which didnít support their favored narrative. Perhaps itís unrealistic to expect that European policymakers will prove more competent than George Bush.

Joe Noory on :

I'm not sure there is any point in addressing someone who cites propaganda in an opinion piece, but if you're parsing the autonomy of the Iraqis, I would suggest that they are much further along than the former Yugoslav states were at the same stage. As for what the Iraqis can expect from the various Europeans and maybe the EU, using history as any sort of guide: there will be just enough in the way of rapprochement on the part of the Europeans to engage in the usual venal arms sales, government engineered industrial and utilities contracts, and the like. Otherwise this notion that they will somehow deliver shipments of human rights is more of a case of arrogant self-flattery based on a history of never having managed the same effort anywhere outside of Europe itself.

joe on :

nanne, Human rights, what a great thing to be for. Could you tell just what Europe has actually done about human rights other than making speeches and signing meaningless documents.

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