As the U.S. military struggles against persistent sectarian violence in Iraq, military officers and security experts find themselves in a vigorous debate over an idea that just months ago was largely dismissed as a fringe thought: that the surest -- and perhaps now the only -- way to bring stability to Iraq is to divide the country into three pieces.
One specialist on the Iraqi insurgency, Ahmed S. Hashim, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College who has served two tours in Iraq as a reservist, contends in a new book that the U.S. government's options in Iraq are closing to just two: Let a civil war occur, or avoid that wrenching outcome through some sort of partition.
Soon after he graduated near the top of his class at the American-run police academy, Alah defected. He did not bother to inform his superiors. The young Iraqi police officer simply walked into a recruitment office in a rundown neighbourhood of Baghdad and signed on for the Mahdi Army, the private militia run by the radical young cleric Moqtada al-Sadr that has been blamed for some of the most savage atrocities in this city in recent weeks.
The 23-year-old absconder described it as "a career move". The pay was better, the duties less onerous and there was far less chance of being killed.
David C. Gompert is a senior fellow at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization. He served as senior adviser for national security and defense for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, during which time he negotiated the agreement to dissolve the militias.
« Older Put down that credit card, and step away from the ... | Shelley is a Republican.... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt