The collapse of Basra shows the problem of pulling out of Iraq. But it also shows how the divisions in Iraq are deep and complicated and how they may intensify no matter if we leave Iraq tomorrow or in 10 years.
Basra in south Iraq had been hailed as a success story. But as British forces have pulled back, violence has taken over, the Washington Post reported. But it’s not Sunnis against Shiites; it’s Shiite militias battling one another for control. As a result, the city is now plagued by "the systematic misuse of official institutions, political assassinations, tribal vendettas, neighborhood vigilantism and enforcement of social mores, together with the rise of criminal mafias that increasingly intermingle with political actors," according to a report by the International Crisis Group.
U.S. officials in Baghdad worry that what has happened in Basra could happen to the Iraqi national government when the United States leaves: Shiites will turn on one another, and the government will collapse — not that it isn’t already almost at that point.
But is a collapse inevitable no matter when we leave? And if so, should we leave sooner rather than later?
Posted by Phillip Brownlee
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