The New York Times today draws a parallel between the Bosnian conflict and Iraq. The article visits one of the solutions that could end inter-communal violence in Iraq and that solution is partition, just like what happened to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia. The article further states three reasons why the Balkanization of Iraq might not be as successful as the Balkanization of the Balkans.

Number one:

The first crucial condition for the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia was that it was already carved up. When negotiators gathered at Dayton, the raging violence had succeeded in paring, pushing and repulsing Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians and Muslims into mostly coherent enclaves. War created a sustainable map on the ground. The task facing diplomats was to get it in ink.

Such a map is far from drawn in Iraq. Although two million Iraqis have fled the country and another two million are displaced within Iraq’s borders, up to five million more — 20 percent of the prewar population — would have to be moved to create an ethnically coherent place. [Divided They Stand, but on Graves. New York Times. August 19 2007]

Number two:

The second unmet condition is that by 1995 in Bosnia, all three sides had fought themselves to utter exhaustion. In Iraq today, polls show that average citizens are exhausted by the war, but militia-style fighters loyal to the three sectarian factions remain fully tooled for combat — just warming up for advanced bloodletting. Foreign fighters and foreign weapons continue to flow into Iraq over its porous borders. [Divided They Stand, but on Graves. New York Times. August 19 2007]

Number three:

Which underscores the third condition not visible in Iraq. A genius of the Dayton process was that the outside powers arming and inspiring the Bosnian violence — Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian dictator, and Franjo Tudjman, the Croatian strongman — were at the table along with their Bosnian proxies and Muslim representatives.

With their signatures on the accords, the flames of outside agitation were extinguished.

By contrast, the Bush administration has been unwilling or unable to cajole Iran and Syria into a full diplomatic partnership to end the anti-government and anti-coalition attacks in Iraq. There appear to be few prospects of expanding direct dialogue, especially with Iran. [Divided They Stand, but on Graves. New York Times. August 19 2007]

I have shared my sentiment against turning Iraq into a 3-state federation. Nevertheless, daily reports of violence in Iraq has forced me from being against, to nearly neutral of the prospect of a federation, or even partition.

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