This week, leading U.S. officials forecast that Iraq could largely be able to take control of its security needs within 12 to 18 months. Moreover, Vice President Cheney added that the U.S. and its coalition partners are “about 75 percent of the way there in terms of getting an Iraqi force that’s able to provide for their own security.” If history is a guide, such expectations probably will not be met.The sectarian rivalries underlying the strife between Sunnis and Shia and Kurds and Arabs have not been overcome. At this time, there is little evidence that a grand economic and political compromise that would satisfy each of the sides’ core needs is near at hand. Such a compromise would entail constitutionally-protected rights for all the sides, full political participation, and a sharing of the nation’s oil wealth. Shia would need to be assured that they would have the opportunity to govern. Sunnis would need a commitment that constitutional safeguards would protect them from a tyranny of the majority. Kurds would need assurances that their nascent democratic experiment would continue to have the chance to flourish within a federal Iraqi state.Unless those needs are accommodated within a democratic and free framework,… Read full this story
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