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Thread: A cheat sheet on Iraqi players

  1. #1
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default A cheat sheet on Iraqi players

    This showed up on CBC.ca and may be of use to some people. There's some useful background material; nothing that isn't available elsewhere, but at least it's all in one place.

    Key political players in Iraq

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Thanks. This is an important article.

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Thanks Marc...

    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    This showed up on CBC.ca and may be of use to some people. There's some useful background material; nothing that isn't available elsewhere, but at least it's all in one place.

    Key political players in Iraq

    Marc
    As you know by now - we like lists and crib notes ! Seriously - nice quick resource - appreciate you posting it.

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    Council Member jonSlack's Avatar
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    Is there a similar resource for the government of Afghanistan out there open source anywhere?

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    USIP, Jan 07: Iraq's New Political Map
    ...This report is part of a two-year study of the changes in Iraq’s political leadership. The study has examined such factors as the ethnic and sectarian composition of the leadership; the leaders’ gender, education, and professional activities; and their political affiliations. It has also probed their views through over seventy interviews in the course of two years. An earlier USIP Special Report, “Who Are Iraq’s Leaders? What Do They Want?” analyzed Iraq’s leadership between the fall of Saddam in 2003 and the elections of December 2005. As that report made clear, the changes since Saddam’s era have been profound. The ethnic and sectarian composition of the leadership has changed (Arab Shi’ah and Kurds are now dominant; Sunnis are a minority), women are now better represented than they were before, and the post-Saddam leaders are better educated than their predecessors. But the elections of December 2005, conducted in a climate of growing ethnic and sectarian strife and amid an ongoing insurgency, have produced even more changes, revealing sharp ethnic, communal, and political cleavages in the electorate and among those elected. These new leaders and the parties with which they are affiliated now provide us with a new and more decisive political map for the future of Iraq....

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Good Report From USIP and Phebe Marr

    Jed,

    First rate post. Phebe Marr has been and still is at the upper crust of Iraq watchers.

    Following the model of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Muqtada al-Sadr and his followers seek to control these communities by providing services—health, education, rudimentary justice, and above all, security—through his militia, the Mahdi Army, which now numbers in the tens of thousands. With this popular base and a growing and active militia, Sadr is becoming a real challenge to other leaders in the UIA.
    I especially liked Marr's analysis on Sadr as quoted above.

    Interesting (and not surprising to fellow pre-2003 Iraq watchers) is the point of finding legitimate and effective leaders. It harkens somewhat back to what we struggled with in Rwanda; the new government and the new Army with the Rwandan Patriotic Front at their core were dominated by former insurgents. There was no question that they were effective; they had a large mountain to climb with regards to internal and external legitimacy, especially with the Huti majority because they were viewed as "outsiders."

    But the key difference was, they were responsible for their victory and they left no doubt they saw themselves as responsible for the future of their country.

    Best

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 01-22-2007 at 04:59 PM.

  7. #7
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Another Interesting Article Quoting Marr and Others

    Marr, of the U.S. Institute of Peace, has seen a lot of Iraqi history, having first gone there in the 1950s. She knows what has been lost since the U.S. invasion of 2003: "We've destroyed more than we intended the army, the bureaucracy, the middle class is in bad shape and many are leaving, and now we're getting ethnic cleansing. These are hard things to put back. These are very fundamental changes.

    "I have problems myself seeing where it's going to end," she said. But "Iraq could tend to break up."

    A better scenario "but I'm not telling you it's the most likely" would be a "muddling through" in which the current level of violence continues for years and factions "finally get tired of it and they begin to make agreements," Marr said.
    That kind of regional "spillover" has worried Mideast analyst Andrew Terrill, of the U.S. Army War College, since the conflict took on a sectarian look.

    "Saudi Arabia, for example" a Sunni kingdom "would be hard-pressed to do nothing if the Shias in the Iraqi government were waging a war of conquest against the Sunni areas," he said. If not Saudi troops, "they would at least provide money, arms and other support."
    In his classic study of those times, "A Peace to End All Peace," Boston University's Fromkin quoted an American missionary who warned the British in Baghdad against tying Arab and Kurdish provinces, Sunni and Shiite provinces together: "You are flying in the face of four millenniums of history if you try to draw a line around Iraq and call it a political entity!"

    Nonetheless, Fromkin said, Iraq once looked as though it might hold together, under the late president Saddam Hussein's iron fist. But today, "if I had to bet, I would bet on disintegration" into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish entities.
    The Star

    Andy Terrill spent 8 months with me in the Army Operations Center in Desert Shield and Storm. Fromkin's book is excellent.

    Best

    Tom

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