Monday, July 26, 2010

Democratic Stability in Iraq: World Court Ruling in Kosovo

A likely cheer went up in Kurdistan on July 22, 2010, when the World Court in the Hague ruled that Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence in 2008 was legal. (So, too, in Catalonia, breakaway regions in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and elsewhere.)

I expect to see political movement in the direction of Kurdish independence after the U.S. completes its current reduction in troop strength to about 50,000 by the end of August, which is to be followed next year with removal of all remaining combat troops in Iraq. If a Kurdistan independence movement gains traction, Sunnis may begin to agitate for an independent Sunni state. This outcome would give traction to Vice-President Biden’s previous position on dividing Iraq into three nations.

Prognosticating one step further, a unified Afghanistan as the objective of U.S. policy will need rethinking. All future interventions will require serious study of the problems posed by ethnic, racial, religious, linguistic, tribal, and other divisions to the goals and success of any effort.

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