Anbar Province Redux

Earlier in the week many tribesmen fought against the government, following the arrest of the Sunni lawmaker and the dismantling of the protest tents, but when Al Qaeda returned many quickly switched sides. “We don’t want to be like Syria,” said Sheikh Omar al-Asabi, who led a group of fighting men in an area east of Falluja. For many men of Anbar (province) over the last several years, fighting has been a constant, even as the enemy has shifted. “We fought the Americans, and we fought the Maliki army, and now we are fighting Qaeda,” said Firas Mohammed, 28, who is an engineer when he is not at war. “We will not allow any outsider to come here and impose his will on us.”

Lost in the recent din of last week’s Jerry Lewis Bowl Game/Wild Card Orgy Telethon was the above bit of (further) proof that Iraq has returned to the mongrels.

Kerry says we will help, but won’t be returning. Which may or may not be true: we shouldn’t have gone into Viet Nam Iraq the first time, either, but go figure… 1

I hope he sticks to his guns – this is nothing more than a civil war and they’re always best solved internally. Assuming, of course, whether even the most basic governance is possible in this part of the world; as many of us have screamed until we turned blue, there isn’t really any stable Arab state short of dictatorship. The so-called Arab Spring made that painfully clear: the quaint notion the Arab Spring would increase democracies in the Middle East went out the window with the baby, baby parts and the bloody bath water.

The problem lays, has always lain, in the fact that religious and sectarian affiliations in the Middle East count for more than actual nations – how does one effectively lead a thoroughly divisive populace? The short answer is you don’t. What you end up doing is creating an endless series of compromises (that please no one) sure to be riven at the first provocation. 2

Tribes with flags, to paraphrase Bashir.

Leave them to their own devices; we’ve replayed Viet Nam in both Iraq and Afghanistan already. Let’s not go for a fourth loss time.

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Show 2 footnotes

  1. Has anyone else notice a decided similarity between Anbar Province and the A Shau Valley?
  2. The US is not that far removed from this delimma  – the powers that be are just better at marketing it.

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