After years of vicious fighting among Iraq’s fractious groups and some incomplete attempts at reconciliation, a ceremony here on Saturday marked a tiny step forward, at least symbolically.
The event was the result of several meetings in Helsinki, Finland, attended by a range of Iraqi politicians, as well as veterans from two other seemingly intractable conflicts, in Northern Ireland and South Africa, who have gone on to become political leaders.
The meetings, organized by a professor from the United States skilled in conflict resolution, included all of the main Iraqi political parties. They produced a document, unveiled Saturday, that outlined several principles for Iraq that the parties agreed upon, a first step in a process that experts in reconciliation say could take decades.
“Here you had them see how to deal with each other and there were a lot of people nodding, ‘We see what you’re talking about,’ ” said the professor, Padraig O’Malley of the University of Massachusetts in Boston, at a briefing last week.
You’ve heard a lot of bullshit over the past few years by ignorant Americans that Sunni Iraqis and Shiite Iraqis have been at war for over 1000 years, way way way before there was an Iraq, when in fact evidence of such a thing is lacking. You’ve also heard a lot of civil war-denial by other ignorant Americans saying that because of all the intermarriage there couldn’t possibly be a civil war. But the truth is that the twin pathologies of Saddamist tyranny and American occupation introduced a carcinogen into Iraqi society. But the descendants of one of the first enlightened, civilized cultures of the human race can rise above what they have endured, provided we end our fucking occupation of their country. I’d say mabruk al-Iraq al-jadeed, but Bremer might have ruined that phrase forever.