Thursday, July 19, 2007

Of 'soft partitions' and history repeating

When I read a recent report from the Brookings Institution about future solutions for the failed state of Iraq, I was a little saddened to see that one of the main options laid out for consideration by the institution was 'soft partition'.

If the U.S. troop surge, and the related effort to broker political accommodation through the existing coalition government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki fail, soft partition may be the only means of avoiding an intensification of the civil war and growing threat of a regional conflagration. While most would regret the loss of a multi-ethnic, diverse Iraq, the country has become so violent and so divided along ethno-sectarian lines that such a goal may no longer be achievable.

This essentially means splitting up the country into three parts governed independently by the Sunni's, Shia's and the Kurds. It also involves transferring between 3 - 5 million people to their 'respective' areas of affiliation.

It bought back visions of a bloody partition of the Indian sub-continent into three parts (India, Burma and Pakistan) in 1947 when the British decided that it was in their best interests for India and the best way to get out of India after occupying the country for about 300 years.

A page from the Fraser Album: 'A trooper of Skinners Horse'; circa 1815; Pencil and opaque watercolor on paper; Delhi, India.

In the two months during the process of partition, about a million people were slaughtered during a religious rioting that took place.

Photographer Margaret Bourke-White captures the endless sufferings of India divided and the subsequent mass migration. © 1947 Margaret Bourke-White, Life Magazine

Interesting how we human's never seem to learn from history...

The full report is here:

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