Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reaping What You Sow

The Awakening is, as many of expected, starting to fall apart.  The Sunnis who turned against the Extremists and sided with the US during the Surge are now starting to return to the Extremists.  Why?  There are many arguments, but the clearest reason to do so is that they do not trust the Iraqi government. 
"The defections have been driven in part by frustration with the Shiite-led government, which Awakening members say is intent on destroying them, as well as by pressure from Al Qaeda. The exodus has accelerated since Iraq’s inconclusive parliamentary elections in March, which have left Sunnis uncertain of retaining what little political influence they have and which appear to have provided Al Qaeda new opportunities to lure back fighters"
As I have been saying for years, the question is how will the majority treat the minority?  And as I have been arguing more recently, the question is not so much of state capacity (what the government can do) but restraint and assurance--can governments assure the populace that it will not be a threat?  The Iraqi government has been breaking promises made to the Sunnis that switched sides.  This bodes poorly for the future of Iraq, and there is little the US or anyone else can do now to get the Iraqi government to change course.

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