Baghdad as Beirut

Baghdad as Beirut
: Al-Jazeera draws parallels between multisectarian Lebanon and multisectarian Iraq — first to take pot shots, of course: at Israel for its involvement in Lebanon and at the U.S. for our involvement in Iraq. But once it gets that kneejerk pissyness over with, the story moves on to suggest the ways in which these two lands are or should be alike.

If the Iraqis govern themselves as they truly wish, it’s not hard to see them split up into their pre-colonial provinces: Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra roughly for Kurds, Suni, and Shiite. Nick Denton has suggested that should be the case (and I’d link to the post if he, like a normal blogger, had monthly archives so I could go hunting for it). The problem with that, it’s said, is that it will destabilize neighboring countries, particularly Turkey with its Kurdish minority. We’ve said we want to keep Iraq, even with its artificial ethnic lumping, together. The prayer is that the Iraqis can pull that off without Yugo-style war.

How? Al-Jazeera talks to Lebanese leaders:

Sayyed Hani Fahes, a Lebanese Shia Imam who was trained in Iraq,

also believes Lebanon is a valuable lesson to the world. Like any spiritual leader, Sayyed Fahes is a firm believer in the essential goodness of humankind. He believes a better kind of regime could emerge from Iraq