The basic premise is that the Shiite dominated government in Baghdad doesn’t govern in Iraq, and the idea of turning over the defense of Iraq to this government is a mirage. To the extent that it governs at all in the south, it is because the Shiite warlords in the south also participate in the government in the capital. “[T]he administration should encourage the formation of several provinces into a Sunni Arab region with its own army, as allowed by Iraq’s Constitution.”
Galbraith argues that the Americans should re-deploy troops to Kurdistan, in the north of Iraq. This area is effectively a separate country, anyway. From Kurdistan, the U.S. could re-engage, if necessary to assist the Sunnis in their efforts to repel al Qaeda and foreign jihadists. In this, the Americans would be aided by the peshmerga, “Iraq’s only reliable indigenous military force.”
The fly in the ointment is Baghdad. Galbraith writes,
Because it is Iraq’s most mixed city, Baghdad is the front line of Iraq’s Sunni-Shiite civil war. It is a tragedy for its people, most of whom do not share the sectarian hatred behind the killing. Iraqi forces cannot end the civil war because many of them are partisans of one side, and none [is] trusted by both communities.Somehow, Baghdadis have to find a modus vivendi. Americans must accept that they cannot play a constructive role in this process.
Here’s my Really Stupid Idea: Why not have a divided city? We can call it an “international city.” Wouldn’t that be grand?
Before you list off the myriad of reasons why this idea is as dumb as a screen door on a submarine, remember this: Many of the bloviating pontificators who talk about the solution to the Arab-Israeli problems advocate making the eternal capital of Israel into a divided, international city. Next time you hear some maven say this, tell him it’s a Really Stupid Idea…
… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!