Thursday, December 14, 2006

Iraq: The Next Rwanda?

So I was reading an article about the war in Iraq. It had a quote from a Sunni man in Iraq saying “I am facing the most difficult times of my life here in Baghdad. Since I am a Sunni, I became a target to be killed. You know that our army and police are Shia, so every checkpoint represents a serious threat to Sunnis. During the last three weeks, two of my friends were killed at check points belonging to the police. They first asked to show IDs and when they saw the Sunni family name, they killed them.”

Bit of Context

This summer I worked for a prof that was doing some work on terrorism. Some of my research led me to Iraq. One good book, Prince of the Marshes, tells the story of the Marshland Arabs in the South of Iraq. Under Sadam’s rule the population went from 400,000 to 20,000 as common people were attacked in their villages by modern military. Houses were burned and people shot. This was the response to an unsuccessful uprising. The same sort of treatment was visited on the Kurdish population in the north of the country.

All my research pointed to Saudi Arabia as the source of the violence. The fundamentalist public school system teaches intolerance and violence to children. Bin Laden got his education from a fundamentalist teacher that had been exiled from Egypt because of his radical violent views. This same school system is being exported to poorer countries as aid, making them the only alternative to poorer families that want their children to have a better life than themselves. Saudi is largely bankrolling the terrorists (with oil money they get from US soccer moms that drive massive SUVs and drive their kids around all day, ok, maybe some of them live in Canada too).

The majority of the population are Shia. So what will happen when the US leaves? But what happens if they stay? I think the only way out is an international peacekeeping force. Maybe some lessons can be learned from Rwanda. There was a majority population that blamed their violent oppression on a minority and turned the violence outward toward that minority.

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