[Marxism] Re: The Balkanization of Iraq

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Sat Aug 27 12:55:03 MDT 2005

Balkanization is one of the main props of imperialism. It is beyond 
divide and conquer. It is also unite, divide and rule.
(1) It divides a people that have a potential to resist the imperialist 
aggressor and occupier.
(2) It legitimizes future intervention in order to “bring peace.” *
(3) Balkanization is a corollary to the artificial cobbling together of 
disparate entities. Afghanistan, for example, was cobbled together by 
dividing the Pashtun people and uniting a part of them with various 
others groups, including a significant number that were Persian 
speaking. Here is a recent article on the Durand Line and the creation 
of Afghanistan. 

Iraq, of course was cobbled together from the Turkish Empire, which 
included the Balkans themselves, by Winston Churchill and Lloyd George. 
(See Winston’s Folly: Imperialism and the Creation of Modern Iraq by 
Christopher Catherwood). Before doing this, the British first separated 
out tiny Kuwait from the Turkish empire, giving it the whole mouth of 
the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the already recognized oil fields.

The result was only a castrated port for the Turkey dominated 
Mesopotamia, while holding Shatt al Arab, the mouth of the 
Tigris-Euphrates for itself, i.e., its dependency--Kuwait. 

The defeat of Turkey during WWI and the creation of Iraq, resulted in 
the following port for the new state as described by Encarta:

Iraq is situated at the northern tip of the Person Gulf. Its coastline 
along the gulf is only 30 km (19 mi) long. Thus, the country is NEARLY 
LANDLOCKED. Its only port on the gulf, Umm Qas¸r, is small and located 
on shallow water, and ONLY SMALL CRAFT CAN DOCK THERE [My emphases].

All the ruling groups in Iraq since then have protested the separation 
of Kuwait from the rest of Iraq. Then Churchill and Lloyd-George 
imposed a ruler on Mesopotamia who at first wasn’t even interested in 
the area and who had expected to rule Syria. However, France wanted 
Syria, which at the time included what was later Lebanon, and didn’t 
want a native ruler who had a certain degree of legitimacy there.

Below is a news release of a TV interview involving Brzezinski and 
Kissinger. Towards the end of the interview, Kissinger suggests that a 
“hands-off” policy and the breakup of Iraq would serve U.S. imperialist 
interests as well as a unitary nation.

December 26, 2004

WASHINGTON - Former US national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski 
strongly criticized the American-led invasion of Iraq on Sunday and 
said the US administration would have to scale down its ambitions for 
Iraq’s future.

Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, expressed support for the 
invasion on the same CNN programmed, but said the US administration had 
misjudged the difficulty of rebuilding Iraq and guiding it to 

Brzezinski, the national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter in 
the 1980s, made a scathing assessment of the US-led invasion in March 
2003 and ensuing occupation after ousting Saddam Hussein as Iraqi 
leader. “I personally think it was not worth it, in the sense that we 
have paid a high price in blood. And it’s increasing. You cannot 
underestimate the suffering that this has already produced to tens of 
thousands of American families.”

He said tens of thousands of Iraqis have died and added: “We’re 
spending billions of dollars, and we have isolated ourselves 
internationally. Now, that is simply not worth the price of removing 
Saddam, because we were containing him. But we are where we are. And 
the problem today is, in my judgment, how to avoid failure.”

Brzezinski said the United States “will confront a continuing problem 
and maybe a deepening crisis if there remains this massive 
disproportion between objectives which are unrealistic and means which 
are very limited. If we are very serious about creating an Iraqi 
democracy, let’s put in 500,000 troops and let’s spend 100 billion, 200 
billion (dollars). We’re not going to do it and therefore, we have to 
scale down our expectations.”

Kissinger remains a strong supporter of the Bush administration line. 
“I believe that they made fundamentally the right decision in entering 
the war. But they underestimated the complexity of rebuilding a 
democratic society in Iraq under military occupation,” he said. 
Kissinger said the whole administration leadership, and not just 
embattled Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, had to look again at the 
political decisions made.

The two also disagreed over the future makeup of Iraq’s government.

Brzezinski said there was now a growing probability that a “Shiite 
theocratic government, which is not going to be a genuine democracy” 
would win Iraq’s elections to be held on January 30.

Kissinger said the United States should not accept a Shiite theocracy 
for all of Iraq. “And if it reaches this point, then we really have no 
interest in keeping Iraq united. Then we might just as well let each of 
these competing ethnic groups create their own self-government, rather 
than imposing a theocracy on, or cooperate with creating a theocracy 
for all of Iraq. [Original article is gone, but you can find reports of 
the interview on the Internet by googling.]

Brian Shannon

* As I begin to post this, I see that Nestor has noted perhaps the most 
relevant example for the Middle East--the example of Palestine. Didn’t 
Lord Samuels once write that the immigration of Jews to Palestine would 
create as loyal a people to the British Empire as the Protestants in 
Northern Ireland. Perhaps someone can post the exact wording.

More information about the Marxism mailing list