The situation in Iraq is most analogous to that of Yugoslavia. Both countries were cobbled out of fallen empires after World War I, Iraq from the Ottoman Empire and Yugoslavia from the Austria-Hungarian Empire. Long standing ethnic, cultural and religious hatreds were ignored in creating these countries. Both countries were relatively stable for decades because of a strongman dictator — Marshal Josip Broz Tito in the case of Yugoslavia and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Both countries lapsed into chaos once those leaders were no longer in power. Stability came to the Balkans when Yugoslavia was divided into five independent countries.

The only chance for the people of Iraq to live in peace is to divide current country into three new countries, one for the Kurds, one for the Shiia and one for the Sunni. If negotiations permitting the free and unimpeded movement of members of each group into its new area along with a negotiated settlement on how oil revenues might be shared equitably, the result would be a much more stable and violence-free situation.

The alternative is years of chaos in Iraq which will likely spread to much of the Middle East and which will be completely out of the control of the United States.

Marc Raim, Baltimore

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