Reidar Visser has something critical to say:
“There has been much talk about conspiracies by hostile powers to divide Iraq into separate statelets, and most of it is probably unfounded. This partition conspiracy, however, is real and since it mostly goes undiagnosed it represents arguably far most dangerous aspect of the Iraq War: Brilliant Western academics who may have the best possible intentions towards Iraq and its people but who in an attempt at sounding sophisticated perpetuate the toxic paradigm of a tripartite Iraq – be it territorially or sociologically – simply because they have failed to study the country’s history properly through primary sources. The suggestion is not that sectarian and ethnic issues are non-existent in Iraqi history. But if Western academics had stopped reproducing what are outright lies about the origins of the modern Iraqi state, the whole climate of the discourse on Iraq would have looked vastly different. Rewrite that Feldman op-ed, delete everything that is empirically incorrect about Iraq’s history, and check to see how much is left of the original argument.
“Operation Iraqi Freedom may be over, but Operation Iraqi Partition lives on, regardless of Security Council resolutions or status of forces agreements. Unfortunately, there is no anti-war movement against it in the Western world because most of the academics there are in fact its loyal soldiers.”
I suspect a lot of reason for the “tripartite Iraq” model of thinking stems from the superficial similarities between Yugoslavia after communism and Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Tellingly, however, only the Kurds have a heritage of seeking independence. Among Arabs, the idea has always been that a single Arab nation was deliberately divided by foreign powers to keep them weak, and what we’ve seen in Iraqi politics the last seven years hasn’t involved anyone’s quest for independence, but rather control of the resources of the united state.
(Crossposted to my blog)