Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dividing Baghdad

This isn't good:

Iraq's politicians were reported yesterday to be drawing up provisional plans to divide Baghdad into Sunni and Shia halves after a week of bloodshed that has left the government's security plan to pacify the capital in tatters.

The proposal would mean an acceptance that the country could not be held together and would mark a dramatic failure for the American policy of fostering national unity.

The Tigris river, which would become the dividing line between the predominately Sunni districts of west Baghdad and the majority Shia in the east.

The partition of post-Saddam Iraq may be inevitable, just as the partition of post-Tito Yugoslavia was, but what we're talking about here is the partition of a single city (and the country's most important city), a city "close to anarchy". It might seem as if partition could reduce the sectarian violence, given the recent "dramatic rise in the number of killings and lawlessness" -- what other viable options are there? -- but look how partition worked out for Northern Ireland, Cyprus, India/Pakistan, etc.

Baghdad could prove that rule wrong, but... no, it won't. The violence would continue regardless.

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