Tuesday, November 06, 2007

All Politics is Local

Colin Kahl gives his view of Iraq's current trajectory:
"Iraq is moving in the direction of a highly decentralized state. It will not be a neat three-way division as soft partition proponents envision. Rather, 'all politics is becoming local,' in the sense of some relatively homogenous provinces, and others with pockets of homogenous and mixed communities, all attempting to provide for their own security and governance. In this emerging context, I don't think that the emergence of a stable security equilibrium in Iraq necessarily involves some huge grand bargain inside the central government that addresses every Sunni grievance and fully includes them in the national political process. That was the old notion of national reconciliation -- and, as your recent commentary on Maliki points out, it is not likely to materialize anytime soon. A minimalist notion of national accommodation, in contrast, would focus on two and only two political compromises at the center: an oil deal and provincial powers/elections. In conjunction with bottom-up security mobilization and efforts to professionalize the Iraqi Army, this could *potentially* lead to a stable equilibrium."

He goes on to explain in more detail, and also becomes the first analyst I've read in a long time who advocates staying in Iraq for a while longer yet.

UPDATE: Abu Aardvark rounds up reactions.



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