L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

23 July 2007 Blog Home : July 2007 : Permalink

Was It Just a Cunning Plan?

I'm going to begin this post by saying that I believe the answer to this is "no" for reasons that lie akin to the well known aphorism that one should "never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by (bureaucratic) incompetence".

"What is he talking about?" I can hear my reader (hi James) mutter. I'm talking about Iraq and, more particularly about the way that the Sunni parts seem to be ever keener to work with the Americans and against Al Qaeda, including now former low level Al Qaeda members (via Powerline). At the same time it seems like the Sadr-ists and other Iranian backed Shia militias are also being rejected, although that rejection is currently rather more patchy.

No one would claim that the US led coalition did a perfect job in post-war Iraq, indeed there are all sorts of former pro-war folks who seem to have jumped into the "its all a total disaster leave now" camp and they have some fairly good reasons. However my contrarian hypothesis is that, while it is regretful that it has taken 4 years, Iraq actually needed to experience the "insurgency" in order to understand who the real enemies were. In other words it is not impossible that the way the post-war situtaion has been handled could have been a cunning plan by the US and co to get an Arab country really loyal to the West from the bottom up rather than just grudgingly allied at the top.

Iraq, as has been reported in various places, is rare amongst Middle Eastern states in that it seems to have a genuine national identity rather than an identity based on tribalism or religion, however the opression of the Sunnis and Kurds by the Sunni minority led to tensions that were displayed after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The result of these ethnic tensions was that it was relatively simple for extremists of various flavours to gain support in their battles against each other and the US imperialists. However, despite what you might think reading the MSM, it seems like the extremists are in fact extremely brutal to the residents of those places where they live and eventually said residents figure out that the US Imperialists are rather less oppressive, indeed unlike the insurgents they actually build things and pay people for constructive acts. Hence a rise in cooperation with the US against Al Qaeda etc.

If the US had managed to crush the "insurgency" in the first 6 months of occupation then this groundswell of support for the US and opposition to radicals would be significantly less meaning that the US might have left and then having left we'd see the country collapse into civil war. As it is the occupation now stands a chance of ending up with a united Iraq that has been "innoculated" against extremism. This would seem to be the best of all possible worlds and just what us "neocons" wanted when we supported the invasion in the first place. Hence, since we know that it was the evil neocons surrounding Bush who ran the invasion and occupation it could be that the whole insurgency has been a cunning plan....