Senior Kuwaiti and Saudi officials now argue privately and sometimes publicly that the partition of Iraq into several entities — Shiites in the south, Kurds in the north and Sunnis in the center — may be the key to neutralizing a country whose population is increasingly viewed by oil-rich gulf Arab states as inherently aggressive.
A senior Saudi intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about this evolving position in a recent interview in Paris, said that Saudi Arabia was less concerned now about what impact a breakup of Iraq’s 17 million people would have. “This possibility may in fact be a better solution than the present situation,” the official noted.
“What we need to do is what the Americans did in Japan and Germany after World War II,” the Saudi official said. “We must go into Iraq and change the whole setup, the whole mentality, including the social structure of that country which permits dictators like Saddam to resurface there with regularity every 20 years or so. “To do that,” he said, “we may need several small entities to deal with instead of attempting to preserve one Iraqi nation.”
In Kuwait, a similar sentiment is expressed more openly now in newspaper editorials.
“We must substitute a state with a wholly different state, a major surgical operation that will take much time to execute,” wrote Ahmad Jarallah, publisher of the pro-Saudi Kuwaiti daily, Al Siyassah, in a front-page commentary on the eve of the second anniversary of the Iraqi invasion. “In the process, however, we must prepare to coexist with a new Iraq in the post-Saddam era that will be for at least 20 years the scene of much internal strife and settlement of accounts.”
“Let us say it clearly: It is not not enough to bring down Saddam or kill him alone to give the world a rest from his problems,” Mr. Jarallah said today. “What is necessary is to cut the roots of the entire Iraqi regime with all its infrastructure, its various support elements, its executive instruments, its spies and its agents.”–Youssef M. Ibrahim, “Gulf Arabs Thinking of a Divided Iraq,” NYT, 2 Aug. 1992