Iraq Becoming a Failed State

May 17, 2007 at 12:57 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, violence, War | 1 Comment

A new Chatham House report states that Iraq is becoming a failed state even with the surge of American troops.

There is not ‘one’ civil war, nor ‘one’ insurgency, but several civil wars and insurgencies between different communities in today’s Iraq. Within this warring society, the Iraqi government is only one among many ‘state-like’ actors, and is largely irrelevant in terms of ordering social, economic, and political life. It is now possible to argue that Iraq is on the verge of being a failed state which faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation. These are some of the key findings of Accepting Realities in Iraq a new Briefing Paper written by Dr Gareth Stansfield and published today by Chatham House.

The paper also assesses Al-Qaeda activity within Iraq, especially in the major cities in the centre and north of the country. Dr Stansfield argues that, although Al-Qaeda is challenged by local groups, there is momentum behind its activity. Iraq’s neighbors too have a greater capacity to affect the situation on the ground than either the UK or the US. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all have different reasons for seeing the instability in Iraq continue, and each uses different methods to influence developments.

Dr Stansfield argues that with the myriad conflicts in Iraq following societal, religious and political divides and often involving state actors, the multinational forces are finding it exceptionally difficult to promote security normalization. The recent US ‘surge’ in Baghdad looks likely to have simply pushed insurgent activity to neighboring cities and cannot deliver the required political accommodation. A political solution will require Sunni Arab representatives’ participation in government, the recognition of Moqtada al-Sadr as a legitimate political partner, and a positive response to Kurdish concerns. Further, it would be a mistake to believe that the political forces in Iraq are weak and can be reorganized by the US or the international community, there must be ‘buy-in’ from the key Iraqi political actors.

The report paints a very harsh picture of the country. I believe the following to be their most important point if we are to resolve this ugly American-made situation:

These current harsh realities need to be accepted if new strategies are to have any chance of preventing the failure and collapse of Iraq. A political solution will require engagement with organizations possessing popular legitimacy and needs to be an Iraqi accommodation, rather than a regional or US-imposed approach.

It is high time that Americans accept the harsh realities. We must if we are to actually apply the proper tools to fixing the problem.

1 Comment »

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  1. the proper tools to fixing the problem

    Ah, for the Bush administration, there isn’t a problem that’s ever been invented that couldn’t be solved by bombing the heck out of it.

    Shock and awe. Works every time (so long as you go bury your head in the sand right afterwards).


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