What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Via Abu Muqawama I gathered that Mother Jones has an amazing batch of interviews with people of pedigree giving you their take on exiting Iraq. Some quotes from some of them to get you to start reading.
Nadje al-Ali on what may make proponents of the Iraqisation of Afghanistan school in the media see things in a bit more complex way.
"Women have been the biggest losers of the post-invasion period. (...) what I am seeing in Iraq is what one might call the Talibanization of Iraqi society."
Nadje al-Ali on what may be called negative U.S. soft power (some interesting feedback to prof Nye) - David Kilcullen has called this same thing the "kiss of death syndrome" the other day, referring to how people coming forward in support of the coalition may effectively mark themselves as targets.
"The louder more people like President Bush say "women's rights" while the country is under occupation, the more people inside Iraq will actually reject the idea of women's rights. People who under different circumstances would be totally happy with the idea of women's education, women's lib for participation, women's political participation, all kinds of things. There's a backlash against anything perceived to be coming from the outside. Although there's a long history of the women's rights movement in the Middle East, people don't think about it. They think that they're trying to change our culture."
Col. Gary Anderson on how the all against the al-Qaida formula might soon be complicated in post-American Sunni tribal lands.
"So I think what you're going to see in Al Anbar is these tribal sheikhs that have aligned themselves up with us lately, the Saudis and the other nations will approach them and there'll be an attempt to fund them to continue the attempt to get rid of the foreign fighters, and given the fact that the Americans will be gone, they only got one group of foreigners to really think about. What's very, very likely to happen is that they'll be feeding competing Saudi, Jordanian, and Syrian finance factions that'll probably start bickering amongst each other and then you've got sort of a three-way within a Sunni community."
Peter Galbraith on the all-targeting nature of the surge:
"One of the other things we've done in the surge, which has been so reckless, is that we've added a whole new enemy to our roster—the Shiite militias. With 15 percent more troops, we've doubled the size of the enemy. General Odierno is saying that 73 percent of the casualties in Baghdad are from Shiite militias."
Peter Galbraith getting in on the human security side of the debate over statist thinking, understandably at least in the Iraqi context he focuses on:
"There is just a huge difference between Bosnia and Iraq. In Bosnia, the perpetrators of genocide were the Bosnian Serbs, who used it to try to create an ethnically homogeneous state to justify their secession from Bosnia, taking 70 percent of the territory. In the case of Iraq, it is the victims of genocide who wish to have their own state to protect themselves from a recurrence of genocide and from a culture that does not accept their identity. To me, they're totally different. My lesson from my time in the former Yugoslavia is this: The tragedy is not the breakup of the country; it is the violence. We, in Yugoslavia and in Iraq, we've put all of our focus on holding the country together and insufficient focus on preventing or diminishing violence. That's the tragedy. You know, God didn't create a single country. These are human creations, and if they don't serve human needs, then, you know, so be it."
That's it. Go and browse for the much more there is.

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