Posted by: Tony Carson | 16 August, 2007

Comparing Belfast to Baghdad

From Belfast to Baghdad, what have we learned? Author Douglas Borer’s conclusion: it will be a long, tough fight. But with whom?

Northern Ireland was a tough and thorny situation, but in terms of relative complexity, it was a game of checkers compared with the three-dimensional chess board that Iraq has become. Indeed, what began as a simple, old-fashioned war between the US and Iraq has now evolved into a nest of infernal complexities that almost defies description. When the US does something to support or appease one party, it creates hostility in at least two of the other internal actors and one or more external players.

Like the British in Ireland, the US has morally constrained itself from simply choosing one side and repressing or killing everyone else, but as a result the only “middle ground” in Iraq is the ground American combat forces now occupy. It took 38 years in Northern Ireland for the British to bring the warring sides to the middle ground, to make peace, and to withdraw. Anyone who claims the US can resolve the situation in Iraq more quickly is sadly mistaken.

This is a very interesting comparison between the two conflicts, well worth a read.

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