Monday, November 29, 2004
Just like any other segment of the Iraqi society, Sunnis are divided within themselves. In other words, you cannot really divide Iraq into 3 neat groups. Shias are divided between those who follow the Dawaa party, those who follow Hakim’s party, those who follow no one except Big Sis, those who follow no one except Sadr, secularists, communists, etc. Kurds are divided between Barzani’s ilk, Talibani’s ilk, and those who hate those 2 parties. Sunnis as well are divided between secularists who are glad Saddam is gone, educated Sunnis who are glad Saddam is gone, educated Sunnis who are not glad Saddam is gone, Sunni Islamic fanatics who are glad Saddam is gone by wanna kill Americans anyway, Baathists who turned Islamic overnight and they are definitely not glad Saddam is gone. You get the idea huh?
So the only division we can make is this: those who are eagerly participating in the political process and those who want to mess it up. The vast majority of Iraqis belong to the first group and 14 out of Iraq’s 17 governorates can have elections tomorrow morning. The trick now is how to coerce the largest number of those who want to mess it up and literally bride them into the new Iraq. In other words, the question is how to turn bad apples into eatable apples?
Sadr turned to be a bad apple. Big Sis used his heart surgery and AC-130 warplanes to prevent this bad apple from destroying the future of the good apples. Iraq’s remaining bad apples are the Baathists, Sunnis who are unhappy with the Shias position in the new Iraq, and Islamic fanatics. My gut feeling tells me that the interim government can negotiate with those whom you can negotiate with (Baathists / Baathists turned Islamics) in order to separate this group from the ones you can have no negotiation with (Iraqi and foreign Wahabi/Salafists). In short, Iraq would take a huge step forward if disgruntled Sunnis were convinced that a piece of the cake is better than no cake at all. It really doesn’t matter if they have blood on their hands, what really matters is that they don’t have more blood on their hands.