Monday, September 27, 2004

Shouldn’t We Consider A Three State Solution In Iraq?

Dear Colleagues:

I would like to ask a question. It is one that media readers of this blog should pursue, assuming, as I believe, that there are a few media readers. For only they, politicians and scholars can really bring out the pros and cons of the question.

The question is this: especially because we face what appears to be an ever increasing disaster in Iraq, why do we not pursue a "three state solution" there, which seems to be the logical thing to do? That is, why do we not pursue a policy under which there would be three countries, each corresponding, I gather, to the major and, apparently, mutually antagonistic groups, the Sunni, the Shiites and the Kurds?

Early on there was some minimal discussion of this idea, but, if memory serves, it was quickly rejected. It was thought that full independence for the Kurds (apparently they are already semi autonomous, correct?) would cause Turkey heartburn for fear that its own Kurds would then demand independence. (The fact that we might be able to, in effect, bribe Turkey, just as we bribed Pakistan to help us in the war on terrorism, bribed South Korea and the Philippines to help us in Viet Nam, and have bribed one country after another to see it our way for over 50 years, seems not be have been considered (perhaps because of the Turks’ "uncooperative" refusal to give our troops passage to Iraq).) The idea of a three state solution then disappeared from view (although, again if memory serves, a short while ago there was an article which mentioned it (favorably on the merits, I think) in The New York Review of Books).

But now that Bush has led us into what looks like an ever deepening disaster and perhaps even a looming civil war in Iraq, isn’t it time to reconsider an idea that seems pretty logical? If there were a state for each of Iraq’s three major groups, wouldn’t each group have the control it desires over its own future. Wouldn’t this fact possibly put an end to insurgency or, at minimum, give each group an interest -- that it would act on -- in putting down insurgents and terrorists within its own, now independent territory?

And wouldn’t the three state solution give our politicians a graceful way of having America leave Iraq and putting George Bush’s debacle behind us? Most American politicians -- who are leading the views of most of the American people down the wrong path entirely -- cannot get through their thick heads a lesson of Viet Nam: when you have made a horrible mistake, just leave before you make things a lot worse (as Reagan did when the Marine barracks were blown up in Lebanon). (This is a lesson that businessmen and other private groups often are all too aware of, because their businesses or institutions may collapse if they don’t follow it.) American politicians need to be given a plausible excuse for doing the right thing -- they seem incapable of doing it just because it is the right thing. So wouldn’t creating three states and putting each of the three major groups in charge in its own state, be a logical solution/excuse that would enable our politicians to withdraw our soldiers quickly from Iraq?

And why, incidentally, is John Kerry not sponsoring this idea, instead of merely being Bush light, a semi Bush clone, when it comes to Iraq? Maybe Bush is too far down the wrong road -- too far gone one might sarcastically say -- to now adopt this seemingly logical three state solution. But why not Kerry?

This posting, as the reader can see, is in essence a series of questions, beginning with the initial question of why don’t we pursue a three state solution in Iraq. The writer is certain of nothing, but simply has questions. The views of readers on these various questions would be welcome.*

*If you wish to respond to this email/blog, please email your response to me at Your response may be posted on the blog if you have no objection; please tell me if you do object.

Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 12:19 PM
Subject: Re: Shouldn't We Consider A Three State Solution In Iraq?
Larry: I think your stuff is right on the mark and needed. Keep it up.

Ira Berkow

Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 1:13 PM
Subject: Re: Shouldn't We Consider A Three State Solution In Iraq?
Dear Larry:
It seems to me, that aside from the religious issues, at the heart of the matter are three issues. No. 1 is OIL. Who gets ownership of the black plasma? No. 2 is OIL. What happens if the wells fall into the hands of the fanatical religious types? No. 3 is OIL. How are our petroleum needs resolved by a three-State solution? Some toil over oil, while others boil over oil. Both groups are loyal to oil, especially oil on their soil. As my old friend Doyle used to say, oil is the moyel that Arabs use to uncoil the royal.
Hoyl (nee Hoy)

Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 1:48 PM
Subject: Re: Shouldn't We Consider A Three State Solution In Iraq?

Dear Larry --

A three-state solution for Iraq makes so much sense that you can be certain it will never transpire. Also, many questions. Would each state have to be a democracy favorable to the US for it to satisfy the Bushies? And who says they want demoracy anyway? Here's a quote from the Roman historian Sallust:

"Only a few prefer liberty -- the majority seek nothing more than fair masters."



Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 1:56 PM
Subject: Re: Shouldn't We
Consider A Three State Solution In Iraq?

One more thing: Asking whether we have already gone too far down the road reminded me (but not until I sent my first e-mail) of the shortstop who made four errors in one inning. The manager sent in a replacement who made an error on the very next ball hit to him. The new shortstop explained to the manager: "The first guy fouled up that position so bad that now no one can play it."


From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
To: David Reiter
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 10:46 AM
Subject: Re: Shouldn't We Consider A Three State Solution in Iraq?

Dear David:

I greatly appreciate your very thoughtful and highly knowledgeable e-mail. It has been posted.

You are quite right in saying that there are lots of countries with "divided ethnic and religious groups" and that the great problem is to figure out when each should or should not have its own nation.

Larry Velvel

From: David Reiter
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 9:02 AM
Subject: Re: Shouldn't We Consider A Three State Solution in Iraq?

Dear Dean Velvel:

It certainly makes sense to consider a three state solution, but there are problems with that also. Iraq is not the only country with divided ethnic and religious groups. Other examples are Yugoslavia with 6 or 7 competing groups; Rwanda with Hutu's and Tutsi's, Indonesia, many of the Russian Republics, etc. etc. Well, you get the idea. I don't think it is feasible or desirable for every group to have its own country, but I don't have an answer as to when you decide whether that is the best solution or not.

As you correctly mentioned in Iraq, the Kurds are spread out in Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. In their case, it certainly seems logical to create an independant Kurdistan. I think it is more problemnatic in trying to split the rest of Iraq into Sunni and Shiite. We have to remember that many of the Arab states were artificial creations in the 1st place.

From: AJKreiman
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 6:35 PM
Subject: Re: Shouldn't We Consider A Three State Solution In Iraq?


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