Iraq: The Unthinkable

America’s exit strategy from Iraq is being designed and the much-vilified United Nations lined up for what many regard as the poisoned chalice. In Iraq, separate Sunni and Shi’a insurgencies have delivered severe shocks and the Kurds are at fever pitch over independence. It’s time to think the unthinkable.

The World Today
5 minute READ

Professor Gareth Stansfield

Professor of Middle East Politics, University of Exeter

With the signing of the transitional administrative law on March 8, members of the Coalition Provisional Authority must have felt reasonably confident that their Iraq experience could only get better – after all, it was described as a historic political consensus and evidence of democracy in action.

Instead, within a few weeks the Authority was faced with its greatest nightmare – a war on two fronts between Sunni and Shi’i insurgents, both united by their violent anti-occupation stance.

I had the fortune to be in Iraq at the beginning of April with two colleagues. We stayed mainly in the north as our research trip was focused on the city of Kirkuk and how the Kurds viewed political developments in the rest of Iraq. However, our research took on a more nationwide agenda as the insurgency spread.

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