Blair: UK committed to Iraq. Partitioning gets mentioned again.

October 23, 2006

UK to Stay the Course for Now

PM Blair’s office made it clear today that the UK will get the job done in Iraq and will not pull the plug.

At the same time, Iraqi Deputy PM Saleh has said that 8 or 9 provinces could be under Iraqi control within the year, indicating that there will be a mission adjustment for the UK (and US?) troops.

Partitioning Iraq

The most pressing question right now, though, is the question of partitioning Iraq. It keeps on surfacing in news stories. It’s hard to imagine a Kurdish north become its own autonomous region, without the Kurds making irredentist claims in other countries (Iran, Turkey) — in that sense, the scenario is unlikely. And bearing in mind the idea that Syria and Iran may be asked to help regulate the Iraq situation, one cannot imagine the Iranians being in favour of a Kurdish area.

Dividing Iraq into Sunni-Shi’a lines is also problematic — how much of the Revolution will Iran want to export into the Shi’a region of Iraq? The Iraqi Shi’as have traditionally not aligned themselves with Iran (as Iran had expected during the Iran-Iraq war) and have identified themselves as Iraqis. If the country is partitioned, then this could change.

This is probably why the US has not favoured a partitioning yet. The UK is saying that the question is up to Iraqis.


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