I remember watching older college friends mastering the Pinochle deck, and then later becoming pretty good myself.
Four-handed Pinochle, pitting opposing pairs of players against each other, was the most popular version, but I soon learned the far more personal three-handed variety as well. The latter involved each player working just for himself; inevitably, this led to two teaming up against the player in the lead…for the time being at least. I recall my late father, of blessed memory, getting upset with me and my younger brother over this. We tried to explain that it was nothing personal…but to no avail.
Keep this in mind as we proceed.
As promised, President Obama has pulled all American troops out of Iraq before the end of the year…for good or for bad. Washington’s war in Mesopotamia is now officially over.
I’ve written lots about this subject over the decades, and my work has been showcased in scores of analyses in print and web publications all over the world. Some examples include the heavily Nobel Laureate-sponsored, Fall 1981 academic journal, Middle East Review ; inclusion on the recommended reference list of Paris’s acclaimed Institut d’Etudes Politique (Sciences-Po); my interview in The Kurdistan Tribune; analyses in the Kurdistan Regional Government’s own publication; dozens of op-eds in web publications such as ekurd.net. Kurdishmedia.com, the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, and others as well; major print newspaper articles; etc. and so forth.
Before continuing, for the reader new to Iraqi politics, a review of the following sample articles should prove to be useful. I’ll start out with the latest, before this current analysis, and then provide several earlier op-eds from different sources as well…
Iraq: What Not To Do … http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2011/10/article110.htm
State Department Math … http://www.krg.org/articles/detail.asp?rnr=77&lngnr=12&anr=6589&smap
Why The Double Standards? … http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=9279
Who Won’t Be Making Jokes About WMD … http://www.turkishdigest.com/2005/01/gerald-honigman-who-wont-be-making.html
What’s Your Plan B ? … http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/5793
Okay, enough of the background stuff…let’s move on.
The power-sharing plan in Iraq’s post-Saddam, American-backed federal games gave representatives from each of the three major religious and ethnic blocks key positions in government—Shi’a Arabs, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds.
To no one with functioning neurons’ surprise, no sooner did America exit the scene, there was a return to an upsurge in sectarian violence. Scores of Shi’a were recently blown apart by Sunni suicide bombers.
At the same time that the above was happening, the Sunni Vice President, Tariq al-Hashemi, had taken refuge in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north—a guest of Iraq’s President, and one of the two main Kurdish leaders, Jalal Talabani. The Shi’a Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, accused him of orchestrating hit squads against Sunni enemies.
As I’ve written often before, if ever there was a counterpart to the now extinct non-nation nation of Yugoslavia, Iraq is it.
Millions of diverse peoples who hated each other were brought together after the break-up of empires in the wake of World War I. And just as the glue which held together the former was manifested in a powerful, feared dictator (Marshal Tito), the same held true for decades in Saddam’s Iraq. When Tito passed on from Earth, Yugoslavia’s days as a unified state were numbered. Likewise, I wouldn’t place bets on the long-term unity of Iraq with Saddam now gone either…short of massive outside intervention, once again, to further others’ interests.