I wonder what would happen if you just gave Iraq to it's neighbours ... ie.
- step 1) split it up.
- step 2) give the North, including the Kurd bit, to Turkey under an agreement with the Turkish government to give it a lot of autonomy.
: Then give the south to Kuwait, Saudi, the west to Jordan and east to Iran.
- step 3) run like hell
This isn't as cynical as it seems. The west has a lot of diplomatic hold over Turkey, as it's a major ally, NATO member and EU wannabe. Use these to make sure it absolutely treats Kurdistan well, and gives it a lot of independence.
The kurds won't like it, but are they likely to be treated worse by the Turks than by the Iraqis? Might they not be better off with this deal, than part of an Iraq in turmoil? The kurds get security, the Turks get some oil fields.
The Shiites in the East will find themselves part of an oppressive theocratic state, but that's probably what a lot of them would have voted for anyway.
So, Iran also gains more oil fields. But Iran is probably in a position to bring order to this area. And to a certain extent, it should extinguish the BazaarOfViolence there. There'll be far less clerical backing for it.
Now it seems like Iran has "won". But the US is really in no position to enter into anything other than a diplomatic solution with Iran anyway. Accepting this, and even dressing up a lump of Iraq as a peace-offering, might be a way to start a real dialogue.
Jordan gets the west. Not sure how this plays, but I seem to remember that the royal families were related, so there maybe that can be exploited there.
In the south, I haven't the faintest what trouble will be caused. But Saudi may be going down in flames anyway. It might as well absorb a bit of Iraq along the way. If it doesn't want that bit of Iraq, it can leave it free as an independent state.
Notice, that if this was all about protecting the oil supply, then we haven't done too badly. Some of it is in friendly Turk / Kurd hands. Some is in Kuwait, which the US will need to stay protecting. But that's probably the place where the US is most welcome anyway. Some is now in Iran. That's gives the US more incentive to go the diplomatic route there. But a few years of decent diplomacy should maintain relations well enough to keep the oil flowing.
What about Saudi? Saudi, needs support from the US. But current tactics aren't viable. A US military presence there will simply stir things up. If the US pulls out, a lot of the justification for AlQuaeda goes away. The US should, instead be putting diplomatic pressure on Saudi for political reform, coupled will lots of good advice on how to do it. The strategy here is to loosen it up sufficiently for it not to explode.
Add to this a massive alternative energy campaign in the US and Europe. Perhaps a special energy tax on petroleum only targetted on new energy research.
- Hypothetical map from : http****://www.zaman.com/2006/09/29/harita_b.jpg