The inevitable civil war?

During a speech this week, John Negroponte, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, claimed Iraq was heading on the path to civil and sectarian war, which would be disastrous for both the region and the people of Iraq, as well as American prestige for the rest of the world.

We would like to congratulate Negroponte for climbing out of the cave he’s evidently been living in for the last three years.

All sarcasm aside, it’s become rather apparent to anyone who follows the region and isn’t a complete and total shill for the administration, that the insurgency is but the first stage in a civil war that is almost certain to erupt sometime in the next year, if it hasn’t already.

While the insurgents tend to kill civilians seemingly at random instead of focusing on one group, this is part of their plan as they attempt the double whammy of playing up everyone in Iraq’s hatred of, well, everyone else, while perhaps provoking the Shiite leadership, who have been for the most part trying to abide by the electoral process set up by the Americans, into mobilizing their militias. Hence, a “cold” civil war of suicide bombings and kidnappings turns into a hot one of open warfare with American forces caught in the crossfire.

This violence isn’t exactly a surprise when one looks at the history of how Iraq became a country. After World War I, instead of allowing for the various religious and ethnic groups of the Middle East to form their own countries, the League of Nations, under British and French direction, decided to draw the lines separating the region into individual protectorates. They also were seemingly very drunk when they did this dividing, as how else can one explain the splitting up of the Kurds and the placement of three groups; Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites, who all pretty much hate each other, into one country.

It probably comes as no surprise then that throughout Iraq’s history there has only been one democratically elected government, with the rest being either kings or dictators. The one exception is the one that sits in Baghdad today surviving mostly because of the continued presence of American troops.

This isn’t to say Iraq is unable to survive as a democratic state. There needs to be a leader respected by all three groups to keep the country together during the forging of a new democratic Iraq – a modern day Konrad Andenauer if one wants to make a comparison. Needless to say, there is no such leader.

The United States is stuck between a rock and a hard place. If we leave, Iraq descends into total civil war within a month, and if we stay, Americans continue to die at the pace of five to 10 a week while simply delaying the inevitable civil war.

Such a quandary, combined with usual war weariness, already has morphed the soldiers’ opinion on the war. The latest Gallup poll shows 72 percent of troops say that the United States should withdraw.

Perhaps if the administration had simply studied their Middle-Eastern history and known what they were getting into, the whole “victory” would have turned out better.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion Daily Kent Stater editorial board.