Letter to the Editor

Recognize Iraq's cultural divisions

Friday, April 9, 2004

To the editor:

When senior President Bush didn't chase Saddam back to Baghdad after the first gulf war, he probably realized we would get mired in the civil war we find ourselves in now. Iraq was a fictitious creation of the United Kingdom's Foreign Office; there was no recognition of the cultural differences of the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites that lived within these bounds. Iraq's geography (recognizing cultural divisions) should be split into three separate countries with governance based on local Islamic law and traditions.

The Kurds should get a northern autonomous homeland. We should give a rough third of the country to the Sunnis and another third to the Shiites. Approximate borders could quickly be established. Final borders could be finessed by mediated negotiation. Peacekeepers could be hired by us to protect minority ethnic populations that may end up inside the various borders.

Neutral oil-producing zones within each of the three countries could be supervised by a commission composed of representatives of all three countries. This commission would see that each nation's government received a proportional share of oil revenue based on pre-war populations.

Dividing the country will prevent the present Iraqi paranoia that they will be oppressed by either a dominating ethnic population (Saddam's preferred method) or a powerful colonial force (maybe us?).

Simply stating we need more troops and more money and more time and to stay the course will never work if we fail to acknowledge the colonial history and ethnic differences in Iraq.