View Full Version : 'Sound Familiar?' To Historians, Iraq Unrest Does

03-17-2006, 01:18 PM
17 March Philadelphia Inquirer - 'Sound Familiar?' To Historians, Iraq Unrest Does (http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/14118010.htm) by Andrew Maykuth.

On the eve of America's third anniversary in Iraq, historians are looking back and seeing a familiar pattern emerge:

A Western army attempts to impose order on Iraq but encounters unanticipated, violent resistance. As casualties and domestic opposition mount, the occupiers redefine the mission and look for an exit. Iraq slides toward ruin.

In the view of some historians, the 21st-century American-led occupation is taking on the appearance of the British attempt to transplant Western-style democracy on Iraq after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I.

Both the Americans and the British eight decades ago "seem to have gone into Iraq thinking that all you need to do is remove the shackles of the previous regime and something more democratic will emerge," said Phebe Marr, a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and author of The Modern History of Iraq.

In the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, U.S. Army Maj. Joel Rayburn says that growing domestic opposition to the U.S. mission in Iraq is similar to the "Quit Mesopotamia" movement in Britain in the late 1920s, which forced an accelerated turnover of power.

Rayburn argues that Britain's premature departure before firmly establishing democratic institutions set up Iraq for the eventual takeover by authoritarian regimes, culminating in Saddam Hussein's rule for more than two decades...

"The greatest British sin," Rayburn said in an interview, "was setting up democratic institutions in Iraq and then abdicating responsibility to make sure those institutions were not hijacked by people who didn't mean well.

Here is a link to the preview version of Major Rayburn's article in Foreign Affairs - The Last Exit From Iraq (http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060301faessay85203/joel-rayburn/the-last-exit-from-iraq.html).

Mike in Hilo
03-18-2006, 04:42 AM
But not quite analagous, since the Brits managed to remain the primary power of influence in Iraq for decades after 1932, which was no mean accomplishment. They turned over sovereignty in 1932, which we did in 2004. But the Hashemite Kingdom, which they had installed in 1922, lasted until the 1958 coup, and so did a long-lived British favorite in the Prime Minister's slot, Nuri AsSaid....Numerous advisers stayed on in government and military, the all-important oil remained firmly in BP hands, and UK military bases remained to keep watch over the oil. It's no stretch to say that Iraq remained a British client state. When Rashid Ali had the temerity to attempt to take Iraq into Hitler's camp in WW II, the Brits reinvaded in 1941 and promptly removed and replaced him with leadership acceptable to the UK. Hardly the "cut and run" policy that would have us irresponsibly wash our hands of the place.