Foreign Policy Blogs

Interesting Piece on Iraq

Not an interesting piece by me, of course.  Let's not be ridiculous.   FPA War Crimes blogger Daniel Graeber has an excellent piece in UPI on the long-term consequences of arming Sunni militants to fight al-Qaeda.   He discusses why this is a short-sighted plan, and one possibly doomed to blow-back in even more violence and mayhem, moreso, I think, than anything al-Qaeda could inflict.

 But as the Sons of Iraq increasingly shed blood for the country, they are growing increasingly disenfranchised with the political rewards. Iraqis, including the Awakening Councils, want peace and stability, but as in any form of participatory government, they also want power. In Diyala province recently, members of the Sons of Iraq abandoned their checkpoints in protest of the Iraqi central government's choice for police chief, who happened to be Shiite. That's just one minor example of the swelling tide of political discontent emerging from the Awakening Councils, as many simply see no purpose in continuing the fight as the Awakening came with few rewards. Adding to the complexity is the tenuous cease-fire by the fighters loyal to the Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, who many of the Sawha forces fear.

Read the whole piece.  Graeber brings up historical and regional analogies, and offers a shrewd analysis of how this can blow up.   The plan of arming one set of militants to fight the another, a strategy that is both over-arching and disturbingly ad hoc, redounded poorly against the US in Gaza, and can do so in Iraq in larger and more frightening ways.



Brian O'Neill

Brian O'Neill is a freelance writer currently based out of Chicago. He has lived in Egypt and in Yemen, and worked as a writer and editor for the Yemen Observer publishing company. He currently is an analyst with the Jamestown Foundation.