CDDRL faculty member James Fearon explains why the U.S. can't win Iraq's civil war

Recently there has been much debate over whether Iraq's conflict is a civil war. James D. Fearon argues that this conflict is "one comparable in important respects to other civil wars that have occurred in postcolonial states with weak political institutions." Based on comparable conflicts in the past, Fearon states that hopes of "creating a stable, peaceful, somewhat democratic regime that can survive the departure of U.S. troops -- is unrealistic". There are no good reasons to believe that President Bush's plans for a "surge" attack to reduce the level of violence in Baghdad would quell the power struggle in the long term as "civil wars are rarely ended by stable power-sharing agreements". In the rare successful cases, it has usually taken combatants without factions, unlike Iraq's current situation. "Neither condition is satisfied by Iraq at present," said Fearon.

Topics: