(Disclaimer: we are neither politicians, military strategists nor diplomats. That being said, we would like to offer a modest proposal for Iraq.)
Iraq is at present a divided country. Kurdistan in the north is relatively quiet and free of violence. The Kurds had for a long time hoped and planned for an area that they could call their own, and it seems that they now have it. If all of Iraq could follow their example, it is a good bet that most of the country’s problems would disappear.
Lacking the iron fist of a dictator to counteract rebellious tendencies, the two sectarian entities, Shiites and Sunnis, are now at each other’s throats, engaged in a de facto civil war. It is our opinion that a possible way to minimize violence is to physically separate the combatants, as was the case in the partition of Czechoslovakia. The division of geography and the relocation of the sects (especially followers of religious leaders such as Muqtada al-Sadr) into respective territories should present much less opportunity for the type of activity that now occurs - e.g., kidnappings, mass executions and car bombings - as it might be necessary to institute checkpoints and possibly a physical barrier between the territories.
When separation becomes a fact, the only remaining instigators of violence will be fanatic insurgents and terrorists, and their activities will likely be limited by the aforementioned barriers and checkpoints.
Once the partition into what we shall call Kurdistan, Shiastan and Sunnistan is accomplished, each territory could elect one or a number of representatives to an advisory body that would serve at the pleasure of the people, and could be analogous to our Congress, albeit a tripartite body. They could serve as the legislative body, and they could jointly select a president or prime minister who would be acceptable to all three factions. This would necessitate compromise, as no faction could be allowed to be underrepresented. As in our country, the executive would serve as the commander-in-chief of the future Iraqi army.
An important qualification must be that all three territories must be guaranteed equal shares of the production of oil, so that no faction can feel slighted. This should dissipate some of the worries that the Sunnis now feel, and would offer them a greater stake in a stable future.
If, to accomplish this goal, additional troops are required, we ought go to the United Nations and insist that UN peacekeepers be committed to the restoration of a united and peaceful Iraq. It is high time that our young American men and women not be expected to bear this burden largely alone.
We would like to see this proposal be considered as a possible solution. Certainly it will require modification to accommodate realities, but we think that it could provide a basic framework that might be acceptable.
Bonnie and Walt