"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."


May 17, 2007

The prestigious British think tank Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where historian Arnold J. Toynbee was Director of Studies from 1925 to 1955, today released a report by Mideast expert Gareth Stansfield (University of Exeter) saying that the Iraqi government "is now largely powerless and irrelevant in many parts of the country" (BBC News, May 17, 2007).  There is not one war in Iraq, but rather "many local civil wars," and a "major change in U.S. and British strategy" is urgently needed, according to the report, which is entitled Accepting Realities in Iraq.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur called it "one of the most dramatic studies on the developments in" Iraq. DPA noted that "The U.S. troop increase in the Baghdad area had not helped curtail the violence, the report added, but only shifted it to different regions of the country."

Agence France-Presse said that Stansfield's report states, judiciously: "It is now possible to argue that Iraq is on the verge of being a failed state which faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation."  AFP observed that Stansfield's report specifies changes that must be made in the U.S.'s approach:  "A political solution will require Sunni Arab representatives' participation in government, the recognition of radical Shiite Muslim leader Moqtada al-Sadr as a legitimate political partner, and a positive response to Kurdish concerns."  But "the Iraqi government is only one among many 'state-like' actors, and is largely irrelevant in terms of ordering social, economic, and political life."

The Daily Mail (London) quoted this phrase:  "[I]t can no longer be assumed that Iraq will survive as a united entity."

A Voice of America reporter interviewed Michael Lowe, manager of the Middle East program at Chatham House, who put at seven or eight the number of "wars taking place in Iraq today."  Despite the absurd proclamations of optimism heard in Washington, D.C., and London, "Lowe says the argument can be made that Iraq has already broken up.  'The Iraqi government carries little authority outside the Green Zone in Baghdad, huge swathes of Iraqi territory are effectively run by local powers, whoever holds military and indeed economic power in specific localities, whether it be in Basra in the very south or in the Kurdistan region on the very north,' he added.  'Because of the breakdown of Iraqi society and the polarization of identities, whether they are sectarian or ethnic, power in Iraq is now devolved to the regions and this has left the country fragmented and perhaps even shattered."

BBC News diplomatic editor James Robbins called Chatham House "the leading foreign policy think tank," and said that the failure of the Bush "surge" in Iraq described in the report "will confront the Bush Administration with a real dilemma."

But a Google News search on the afternoon of May 17 showed that the Chatham House report (.pdf file available at this link) was all but ignored by U.S. mainstream media sources.


"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."