Thursday, November 01, 2007

Optimism in Iraq...almost

I look for something optimistic every chance I get. (Check my tagline and previous post.) So this from Mark Lynch jumped off the monitor at me:

"Federalism is our path"

No, this didn't come out of Joe Biden's office. It's a map of a federal Iraq allegedly produced by Ammar al-Hakim's Shahid Mihrab Organization [ed. broken link.](a SCIRI/SIIC proselytizing organization in southern Iraq) and being distributed by Shia members of the Iraqi parliament (with dark murmurings among the Sunni commentators that it must have been made in Iran because of how Najaf is written). "Federalism is our one path to freedom and security," it declares (update: not "federalism is unity," as I originally wrote... on the low-res version of the map I was first using, I thought it said "tawhid" where it says "wahid". Thanks to badger for the sharper pair of eyes). It was published on an Iraqi Sunni website and then spread like wildfire through the forums and other papers - whether it's authentic or not, it seems to have become one of those viral images and to have touched some exposed nerves.

More at the link, including a spirited discussion in the comments thread among observers whose knowledge of the language and political details is much better than mine. I know from reading other sites that MSK and Nur are both sharp as tacks.

Too soon to tell, but this is the best news I have read about Iraq for weeks, much different and far more constructive than other Balkanization plans that have been tossed around. I am convinced having read Abu Khaleel's commentaries that there truly is a core of Iraqi patriotism that has been there all along. It's a bleeding shame that the aftermath of "regime change" has all but destroyed that precious and fragile sentiment.

Twenty-four hours later...

Nothing happened. It turns out to be a Shiite-produced map that really pissed off a lot of Sunnis.

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