Thursday, October 26, 2006
Haven't been posting for a while, but I have some thoughts on our circumstances in Iraq and how best to proceed forward that I wanted to post and hopefully debate.
I’ve got an idea and it may seem way off the wall, but here goes....
Combine the carrot of oil revenue going to Iraqi people with additional shares of revenue for civil servants, military, and police whose lives are most at risk in supporting the present Iraqi administration. Graduate the scale of shares based on time of service with a 5 year timescale. I.E. Five years of supporting the government as a police officer would garnish increased reward. Ten years with no negative charges against you (desertion, corruption) and a larger bonus would be the result. The intent here is to increase the professionalism of the police and help prevent desertions etc.
Another carrot....Areas that maintain a lack of sectarian violence would also gain an increased share of the profit proceeds. This increased share would come from areas that were still experiencing violence.
The root of the sectarian violence is righting old wrongs and gaining access to the oil. Additionally the Sunni/Shiite violence is driven by religious intolerance. What has to happen is make the cost of the violence so high that it is in the benefit of all involved to keep the peace.
Anyone apprehended in taking part in the sectarian violence would have their district’s share of the revenue decreased to spread among the districts that are at peace. Additionally, all property owned by the individuals would be forfeit with the proceeds going to those injured by the individual.
The disadvantage to this avenue is it has the potential to leave families destitute and on the street with limited options because of the actions of one family member. Conversely, this very likelihood would stop those most at risk of joining a militia in an effort to improve their station from doing so.
An alternative would be some amount of blood geld would be paid by the family to the injured parties as set by clan intermediaries. This blood payment would not be unfamiliar to the culture and could be paid by the government in exchange for service from the family for some period, based upon the injury involved.
Just thinking out loud now...I’m much better at coming up with carrots then sticks....
A Saddam/Machiavellian solution to this violence would be to play off the two sects against each other to keep the peace. What we need are ways to increase the safe interactions between the parties involved that make the sides see the benefits of keeping the peace themselves. If they are currently fighting over the oil that indicates the real power behind the fighting is fighting over money. We need to change the dynamic to make a lack of violence profitable.
What I'm really looking for are additional incentives to foster support for the existing Iraqi government and ideas that will pull individuals away from the militias and Syrian and Iranian influences.
Are carrots alone, enough?