Sharing Amongst Enemies

30 August, 2009

Cherry PieIn his book Partitioning for Peace, Ivan Eland argues that division offers the best chance for peace in Iraq. He outlines lessons that can be learned from historical examples of partition.

However, he makes little of precisely how oil revenue is to be shared amongst the different peoples. Rather than divide the land and the oil by proxy, it would be much better to centrally process the oil and divide the revenue.

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Afghanistan’s New Hope

20 May, 2009

Afghanistan FlagThe Economist reports on the introduction of the Afghan Public Protection Program (AP3). The US is hoping that what worked in Iraq can be applied to the very different problems in Afghanistan. They will be disappointed.

The problems in Afghanistan are rooted in a very different enemy, and the motivations of subscribing tribes to this new militia are decidedly different too. In addition, the support for these forces (although increasing in practical terms) is insufficient when compared to Iraq. The Taliban will not be defeated by passing the buck onto local militias.

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Back in Iraq

14 May, 2009

The Washington Post reports militants have renewed their entry into Iraq through Syria. The developments come as diplomacy between the US and Syria are promising, suggesting the real motivation behind these movements. Meanwhile, violence in Iraq is lower than it has been since the summer of 2003. President Obama’s decision to renew economic and political sanctions against Damascus will threaten the progress made on both fronts.

The ability of Syria to make life difficult for America, was demonstrated by their removal of support for border control operations with Iraq last year after incursions into their territory. This should not be forgotten. Antagonism also tends to drive Syria towards its neighbour Iran. Even though this is clearly only a marriage of convenience, it should be avoided.

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