Monday, March 5, 2007

Lawrence of Arabia

My friend Stephen recently ran across this article from the Sunday Times of London.

It's dated 22 August 1920.

For Mesopotamia, substitute Iraq.

Substitute a few other words and dates and the Sunday Times could run the same damned article this weekend.



Rachel said...

VERY interesting. That is scarily eerie to what is going on now.
What was the result of this military action? I haven't ever heard of it.

David in DC said...

The Brits installed a Hashemite king in a made-up country called Iraq, knitting together Kurds, Shia and Sunni who hated each other.

Saddam Hussein's people overthrew the monarchy and kept sectarian violence down with brutal efficiency.

Hussein started as part of a junta, but eventually became sole dictator by virtue of being most soullessly brutal. Sunni prospered at the expense of Shia and Kurds, pretty much the same way they had under the monarchy, but more efficiently under Hussein.

Iraq reflared into a civil war among the various ethnic factions (I've oversimplified the factions), with the U.S. in the middle, when we took down Hussein with no rational plan for keeping the country's traditionally hate-filled rivalries on a path to cooperation.

It may well be true that no such plan can exist among these disparate groups. The Sunni kept the Kurds and Shia under their boot for an awful long time and payback's a bitch.

Why we should be policing these jokers is thoroughly beyond me.

Lawrence of Arabia knew it was impossible in 1920.

George of Texas ain't never been much of a student of history.