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7/5/2014 8:36:00 AM
Let Iraq figure it out
Catholic News Service
Iraqi forces take positions.
Catholic News Service
Iraqi forces take positions.

Many express their shock over the renewed violence in Iraq. There should be no surprise.

Mideast experts years ago predicted a break-up of this ancient country if the three sides could not agree to share revenues from oil exports. This has come to pass, tragically.

The Shias who now mostly operate the central government in Baghdad have been ignoring their Sunni co-religionists since the war ended, just as the Sunnis treated the Shias for centuries.

Bitterness and despair have built up to the point where desperate men and women are taking up arms.

The new violence is about oil exports and the revenues they generate.  Iraq last year produced 3 million barrels daily, valued at $100 a barrel.  Those revenues add up quickly.

Rather than trickling the revenues down to rural areas where chronically unemployed former Saddam loyalists could begin rebuilding their war-damaged communities, Baghdad functionaries spent $4 billion to buy a fleet of F-16 fighters from America, among other excesses. Never mind that basic services like electrictiy and clean water are sharply limited.

The spillover from Syria has the United States and Shia-dominated, neighboring Iran whipped up.

The U.S. has dispatched 300 special operators to Iraq in hopes of stiffening government forces in their fight against the people who wish to topple the regime. There are plans for U.S. close air support.

It’s crazy, scary talk. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki brought this mess on himself.  It is up to him and his circle of advisors to figure out how they’re going to resolve things.

We never should have invaded Iraq; there never were weapons of mass destruction. Let’s not make matters worse going forward.

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