Olive Branch Optimism
what a wonderful world...
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Iraq is a place full of questions.
Iraq is a place full of questions.

There is a recovery of Iraqi nationalism amongst its civilian population, and by that I mean the pride of the Iraqi people is returning. The new Iraqi Government is in the process of being formed and it seems (as I had hinted may happen) the UIA having won the majority of votes, but not enough to take government has met some internal strife. (How long can this alliance between SCIRI//Sadr really last??)

It seems some elements (but most particularly the Sadrists) have disagreements with SCIRI's desire for federalism (ie, the probable creation of a Shiite religious state based out of Southern Iraq, maybe including parts of Iran [pending on military conflict]). I assume this is due to the fact that Sadr's main support base outside of Najaf is found in Sadr City, a slum area in Baghdad where his father is revered for fighting for Shiite rights under Saddam.

Federation would effectively destroy the current economic climate of Iraq, which is (seemingly) based around 5 main locations:

Oil rich Kirkuk in the north (which the Kurdish Alliance wishes to become the economic heart of Greater Kurdistan if Iraqi federalism were to go ahead)

Mosul//Nineveh (for its highly educated population, religious sites and generally large population, another asset some in the Kurdish alliance consider part of Greater Kurdistan- and thus part of any Kurdish State were such a thing to exist. There would be a long bitter battle before this city were ever occupied by Kurdish Peshmerga if they were ever to attempt such a thing)

Najaf (for its holy Shiite tourist attractions, and as base of operations for Sadr supporters- which would probably become part of the discussed Shiite religious state were such an event to occur without al-Sadr dissenting)

Basra (in the Shiite south, its large population and relative closeness to the Gulf and some southern oil-fields, combined with increasingly stability and good relations with Iran make this another economic centre for SCIRI’s desired Shiite religious state)

This would leave only 1 major economic centre to fend for itself, cut off from oil-money and (once heavy) tourism; due to lack of security and the brain-drain occurring as a result of assassination campaigns against Iraq's educated population. Engineers would move to the safer zones & oil fields where they could make more money, thus reconstruction in Baghdad would become an even slower, more isolated process.

I think this would be of great concern to the estimated 2-3million people now occupying the slum-city formerly known as "Saddam City", now named after Al-Sadr's father. Thus before SCIRI can realize its dream of a Shiite State based from South Iraq, it must first defeat its dependency on Sadr's group.

I don't see this happening anytime soon and since the UIA barely gained any ground in this election, despite the addition of millions of Al-Sadr supporters to their voting support base, who had disenfranchised with SCIRI//Badr's brigade during the last election, it seems the strength of and support for SCIRI has begun to diminish.

Check this post over at Iraq The Model:  “Iraq needs months to form new gov’t” it’s quite informative and well planned.

Is Iraq on the road to recovery? In some ways yes, but no matter what you say when talking about Iraq, it's always speculation.

[olivebranch out]
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