Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Shia Revival: Military in Iraq The Shia Revival: Military in Iraq

One of the ways that many have suggested the current Administration screwed up in Iraq was in firing all of Saddam Hussein's senior officers and starting the Iraqi army over, essentially from scratch.

But this misses a big point, in that Saddam Hussein's army consisted of an almost exclusively Sunni Arab officer corp, with Shiites and Kurds comprising the bulk of most divisions, while the Republican Guard was staffed primarily with Sunni Arabs.

The relevance of that is that if we had allowed Saddam Hussein's senior officers to remain, the result would have been again a Sunni Arab commanded army consisting this time almost exclusively of Shiite Arabs and Kurds. BUT, when it became apparent to all what was going on in Iraq, what would the Army have done? Would its Sunni Arab commanders be as willing to go into Sunni Arab neighborhoods looking for terrorists?

The basic problem is that for quite awhile now, the Sunni Arabs have governed over their Shiite brethern. This isn't always that much of an issue, except in cases like Iraq where the Sunni Arabs are a distinct minority, and as a result, had to resort to ever increasing levels of violence and oppression to maintain control.

So, for probably the wrong reasons, the American govt. probably did the right thing there in Iraq, rebuilding its army to much better match its demographics. And, thus, the army is most likely much less likely to be used to brutally impose minority rule over the majority.


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