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November 15, 2007


peter hofmann

One proposal: try to analsye iraq in social terms.

Saeed Uri

I really enjoyed the roundtable at Carnegie. Personally I think your comments on the topic were the most interesting. Of course from reading your blog nothing was ground breaking but hearing the views of the other guest also kept it interesting.
Walking out I was wondering, since the other speakers were having a hard time explaining "why now" about the release of the platform, and thinking that all things in the Middle East connect some way or another, could the experience (or whatever you want to call it)of Hamas in Gaza be a reason for its release? Or what about the AKP in Turkey? Even the criticism that comes from Al Qaeda about the different national organizations, did that have any affect?
There is probably no way of figuring this out, but could regional (and religious) influences be a cause for the release of the platform? After all Egypt is THE Arab country and its future will have a huge impact on the whole region (just like Nasser did).

anna missed

...[ And thus, as Ricks quotes my argument, the current strategy is accelerating Iraq's descent into a warlord state even if violence is temporarily down. ]...

I can't think of any other (rational) reason for this strategy other than 1) it will (and does) reduce violence, 2) which makes the current "surge" appear to be "working", and 3) requires the occupation to continue, because dependency on U.S. forces has expanded beyond the Shiite government and now includes the former Sunni insurgency.

But as usual and keeping within precident, the long term logic and potential remains grounded in a wish and a dream.


It amazes me, having spent 3 and a half years in the Middle East, two of which during wartime, how as we call them, armchair critics and armchair generals think they know what they are talking about. From their high enclosed glass bubble, vicariously passing judgment. If your such an expert on the Middle East you would know that the first form of government is the tribe. Using these mostly honorable men to restore law and order is common sense. It is nothing like the warlord state of Somalia. What would you rather have more people dying and a lack of law and order just to further your political agenda. You got your 15 go now!


The arguments in this post for putting off the provincial elections are much more persuasive than in the earlier one. And with the Sunnis sidelining the Association of Muslim Scholars and the reopening of the St John of God church in Baghdad it seems Al Qaeda is really on the run and increasingly being revealed as having been the main engine of the insurgency and instigator of the sectarian bloodletting? This would suggest that the refugees in the neighbouring states will start returning to Iraq in very large numbers.

In this context, once AlQI is completely driven out, national elections could serve as the circuit breaker for national reconciliation and be followed by the provincial elections once the sharing of revenue has been formalised?

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