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April 01, 2004

Cole on Falluja 

posted by Scott @ 2:43 PM
Juan Cole weighs in on the atrocious violence yesterday.

"It seems likely to me that the guerrilla violence will continue for years, since it has a firm class base in the Sunni Arab rentiers who had benefitted from Sunni dominance in the Baath, and to whom the best jobs, infrastructure and most power had been thrown. They are not going to be quietly reduced to a small powerless and much less wealthy minority.

The only hope is political. The Sunni Arabs have to be convinced that they are not playing a zero-sum game. ......But politics does not have to be a zero-sum game. The Iraqi economy has the potential to expand greatly. So the pie won't stay the same size, and Shiites could get richer without robbing the Sunni Arabs. Likewise, in a parliamentary system, the Sunni Arabs could make coalitions with Kurds and moderate Shiites in such a way as to be a key player and to retain a great deal of political power and to forestall the radical Shiites from taking over. A minority can leverage its power by being a swing vote.

Unless the Sunni Arabs are drawn into parliamentary politics and convinced that the new game is not a zero-sum game, the bombs will continue to go off."

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