The Saudi post a couple of days ago got me thinking. Before I get into it, let me first say that I fully realize that while George Bush is in the White House there will be no change in course on our Iraq policy. The guy is a moron and simply refuses to believe reality so we will keep going down the same one way street trying to run through the same brick wall at the end of it forever.
That being said, eventually someone else will sit in the Commander & Chief's seat, so call it forward thinking.
Picking a side in the new named by NBC civil war is tantamount to federation, only with a thousand times the violence. Iraq should be split into three parts, just not along the lines that have been proposed in the past. Yes, the Kurds in the north would retain their autonomous region, but not secede from the nation.
The same goes with the Shia in the South. Yes, that will give Muqtada al-Sadr a virtual lock on controlling the oil wealth in that region, but that is the best possible outcome at this point. While in the past I've thought that the country would eventually split up anyway, and that the Mahdi Army would eventually go toe to toe with the Badr Brigade, the dynamics have changed this year.
If there is one good thing that has come from the sectarian violence, it is the fact that the Mahdi Army has grown in size by about eight times although it's certainly not true that Sadr has control over all the new members. That is not a good thing in Iraq's current state, but in the future it could be a good thing to brace the country in the future from an even more pro-Iranian SCIRI and their Badr Brigade. For while Sadr cannot rein these forces in from sectarian violence, he can unleash them on the Badr Brigade if necessary.
Simple geography has kept the Badr Brigade from experiencing the same growth as the Mahdi Army. Their core constituency is not out in the killing fields of central Iraq, but in the south near the Iranian border where security is much better.
That only leaves us with the Sunnis. I believe that the best solution at this time would be to have Saudi Arabia annex Al-Anbar province, plus Baghdad to the Tigris river as its protectorate. As for Al-Anbar, the tribes of that region share cross border ties into Saudi Arabia already, and the Shia and Kurds have no use for the land as it is of no particular value. In Baghdad, the Shia and Sunni seem to be making the Tigris their dividing point at this time on their own anyway.
Then, the US forces could withdrawal from Al-Anbar province and allow the Saudi security forces to root out the foreign presence there. They're much better suited for the job anyway. US forces would then aid in helping displaced families with safe passage to the areas they choose to live in, then withdrawal to defend the new border, drawing down forces as the Saudis replace them.
Under this proposal, the Saudis would get to show off their prominence in the Sunni world, one of the main reasons they would go for it, and help bring stability to the region. We get to get the hell out of there. Then again, it could lead to regional war.
Just a random thought.