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Why the Failed State of Iraq Should Be Dissolved

The sectarian bloodletting will continue unless this permanent failed state can peacefully dissolve.

by
Steven Simpson

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June 13, 2011 - 12:00 am
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As of this writing, another murderous attack against American soldiers has taken place in Iraq, leaving a total of 4,459 American soldiers killed since the beginning of  ”Operation Iraqi Freedom.” This does not include the thousands of Iraqis that have murdered each other over the years since Saddam Hussein was deposed in 2003. Whether it is Sunni, Shia, or Christian; Arab, Kurd, or Assyrian, it appears that Iraqis of different ethnicities and religions cannot co-exist in one state. From its Frankenstein-like creation, Iraq has been nothing but an artificial entity that has caused untold misery to its inhabitants, neighbors, and the world at large.

This begs the question if the only real solution to the Iraqi problem would be its dissolution into three separate states: One Sunni, one Shia, and one Kurdish. The reason that this may be the only logical conclusion lies in the history of the founding of Iraq. From its creation some ninety years ago, Iraq has been nothing but a failed state, still-born at birth and held together only through brutal coups and dictatorships. Indeed, its past history may be a prelude to its future if it continues as one entity.

In 1920, upon the decaying corpse that was the Ottoman Empire, the victorious allies of World War I — England and France — captured the former Ottoman territories of the Middle East. One of these territories consisted of the area known in ancient times as Mesopotamia, which was historically the homelands of the kingdoms of Assyria and Babylonia. From the 7th century A.D. and after, Arab Muslims conquered the region and Arabized and Islamized the indigenous inhabitants.  A small Aramaic-speaking Christian Assyrian Orthodox and  Chaldean Catholic community continued to exist, along with Jews (who had been there from the time of the Babylonian Exile in the 6th century B.C.), as well as the non-Arab (yet Islamized) Kurds. In 1517, the Ottomans swept down into the Middle East and established their rule that would last for over four hundred years.

When British military forces arrived in 1920, Mesopotamia consisted of three provinces (vilayets) originally created by the Ottoman Turks. These were the provinces of Basra in the east (mainly Shi’ite), Baghdad in the center and south (mainly Sunni), and Mosul in the north (mainly Kurdish Muslim and Assyrian Christian). The British, under Secretary of State Winston Churchill and Colonel T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”), decided to cobble together this motley crew of peoples and religions into one country.

In April 1920, the League of Nations granted Britain the “Mandate of Mesopotamia” and Britain created the Kingdom of Iraq, granting it independence in 1932.  The name itself is of disputed origin, some claiming that it comes from the ancient city of Uruk, or a Perso-Arabic word meaning “lowland.”

A Hashemite constitutional monarchy was established, and lasted until 1958. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, from the years of 1925 (when the first Parliament met) until the end of the Hashemite monarchy in 1958, ten general elections were held and at least 50 different cabinets came and went. This was the era of “Iraqi democracy.”

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