De-Baathification, de-Mahdification and de-Badrification are all wrong

De-Baathification came with the invasion of Iraq with initial moral justification and parallel with Nazi Germany. Whether or not we agree with the motives the initial result was to alienate and stigmatize millions who joined the Baath party for reasons of survival. De-Baathification excluded the political expression of many politically aware voters. Now, as if no lessons were learnt, the tide is turning against the Sadrists and their military branch, Al-Mahdi Army, who are by no means all innocent of crimes, but they do have considerable vote count and their exclusion will make consensus even more difficult.

De-Badrification may seem unimaginable to some right now but with the drums of war between the US and Iran beating ever closer, the scenarios for isolating the Badrists are becoming more imaginable. In short, the approach of exclusion, which started with de-Baathification, makes consensus more difficult if not impossible. A better approach is the policy of inclusion.

Guarding Iraq’s borders is a major task for bringing stability. Since 2003, the eastern (Iranian) border was guarded mainly by pro-Iranian infiltrated border guard . A policy of inclusion and wise management for ex-Baathists is the deployment along the Iranian border. Sadrists or Al Mahdi Army could be deployed to the north, along the Syrian border, and Badrist along the Saudi-Arabian border. New ethnically pure border towns and high salaries could add incentive. I am aware of neighbor sensitivity to such proposal, and of the existence of communities with similar ethnicities on the other side, but guarding the border is a sovereign duty and should not be dictated by neighbors’ desires.

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