Sunday, October 16, 2005

Iraqi Dawn

On the dark dawn of September 12, 2001 who could have imagined that just four years later democratic government would have taken hold in Afghanistan and Iraq?

The 63%+ turnout in the Iraqi election exceeds the 61.3% in the UK May election and the 60.7% in least year's Presidential election. Terrorism was minimal, and security was provided by the Iraqi armed forces and police, not the coalition.

It doesn't matter whether the constitution succeeds or fails - the Iraqi people have chosen negotiation and compromise over killing. The low trust features of the society that irritate Anglos may melt away over the coming decades, as Iraqis learn to control their own lives. And even if they don't, Iraq will be no worse than Greece or Southern Italy, which survive without committing mass murder.

From now on, the killings will continue to fall - they're already not much higher per capita than in Chicago - as the two groups of insurgents whither away. A sign of fading were the mass killings in September. An enemy running out of men and weapons concentrates what it has in big, desperate attempts to win back the initiative - an example is the WW2 Battle of the Bulge, when Hitler sacrificed the remaining German air force for temporary territorial gains.

The al Queda letter this blog and Iowahawk satirized dissects al Queda's failure. By slaughtering Shias and recording their atrocious murders on the Internet, they have irrevocably demonized themselves with the people they need for support. Their murders of Shias are similar to the German massacres of civilians when they advanced into the USSR in 1941. These turned a people who would have been happy to see the end of Stalin's dictatorship into remorseless opponents, ensuring that the USSR would prevail. Never, ever, have an enemy believe that you will kill them whatever they do - they will fight to the end.

Al Queda's recordings of its atrocities alienated the entire world - we all imagined ourselves in their stinking slaughterhouse, hogtied and blindfolded as a chanting assassin rammed his knife into our throat. In the past, absent permanent records, people forgot and forgave. But if - for example - we could still pull up on our browsers or cellphones movies of Japanese mass raping, torturing and decapitating our people in WW2, would we be buying Camrys and PlayStations? I don't think so.

The second terrorist group, the Baathists, are declining as their logistical support from Syria is destroyed by the Iraqi army and the US campaign against Assad forces him to turn off the tap (if he survives). And their support in the Sunni community is now terminally eroded by the huge numbers of Sunnis voting. These votes are rational - if Sunnis opt to fight, then as 20% of the population with no oil resources they become a new Gaza Strip - if they survive the vengeance of the Kurds and Shias, that is. By engaging in the democratic process, they'll get more share of the resources and power han their numbers strictly allow - same as the folks of Vermont and Scotland do.

Violence won't suddenly stop - like the Democratic Party, there are plenty of terrorists whose single strategy when in a hole is to keep digging. But look for more and more to cut deals to escape vengeance.

There will be new threats - the province of Kurdistan may be seen as a big threat by Turkey and Iran, both of which have substantial oppressed Kurdish minorities. So the Kurds will need air cover and logistical support for years to come (their army is fine). Iran may make a grab for Shia Iraq, but that will provide the US with a decent reason to whack their nuclear program. so I don't think they'll try it.

So a new future has dawned for Iraqis and these brave men did not die in vain.