While partition as an alternative to the bloody status quo has appeal and seems to have worked semi splendidly in
* The war in
had already rendered that country divided and the successor states created by partition were ethnically homogeneous, whereas in Bosnia there would have to be massive population resettlement. (Involuntary resettlement is occurring, and this has apparently increased as a consequence of the surge.) Iraq
* War-weariness among combatants and non-combatants like contributed to the Bosnian armistice, but Iraqi militias and insurgents show no signs of wanting to lay down their arms.
* Outside powers supporting Serbian and Croatian militants were part of the Dayton Accords process, whereas the Bush administration has been much too reticent to involve
and Iran in such talks to allow a Dayton-like solution. Syria
Dave further notes at Foreign Policy Watch that:
"The missing ingredient is relevance. Unlike Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats, who did not have the quotidian political autonomy before the war thatAs it is,
granted them, Dayton 's 18 governorates already have autonomy to handle community policing, education, religious and cultural practice, and the ever-so-important 'breathing room.' The Biden/Gelb approach to 'soft partition' doesn't lower obstacles to autonomy, it only raises obstacles to cooperation on those things that Messrs. Biden and Gelb still expect Iraqis to sort out together: national defense, oil revenue sharing, and other matters of 'mutual interest.' " Iraq
In fact, a major reason the
About this time last year, Ralph Peters wrote a fascinating article in the Armed Forces Journal with accompanying maps (reproduced above) that redraw the region's borders to more closely reflect those considerations.
The first thing you notice is that
So why doesn't
Peters explains that it is a state with "madcap" boundaries. It would lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan, Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Baluchistan, but would gain the provinces around Herat in today's Afghanistan — a region with a historical and linguistic affinity for Persia.
Peters concludes by noting that correcting borders to reflect the will of the people may be impossible in the short term:
"But given time — and the inevitable attendant bloodshed — new and natural borders will emerge.
has fallen more than once. . . . Babylon
"From the world's oversupply of terrorists to its paucity of energy supplies, the current deformations of the Middle East promise a worsening, not an improving, situation. In a region where only the worst aspects of nationalism ever took hold and where the most debased aspects of religion threaten to dominate a disappointed faith, the
, its allies and, above all, our armed forces can look for crises without end. While U.S. may provide a counterexample of hope — if we do not quit its soil prematurely — the rest of this vast region offers worsening problems on almost every front. Iraq
"If the borders of the greater
Middle Eastcannot be amended to reflect the natural ties of blood and faith, we may take it as an article of faith that a portion of the bloodshed in the region will continue to be our own."