Pryceless Fool


Writing in The Spectator, author David Pryce-Jones takes to task British Foreign Office Arabists who, he says, are favoring Iraqi Sunnis. That's not a good idea, because:

A straight line of Sunni tyranny leads from the unscrupulous [former Iraqi King] Faisal to the mass graves of Saddam Hussein and the Baath party. Sunni resistance today comes down to the simplest of statements: in case you?re thinking of treating us the way we treated everyone else, here?s a bomb. For these Sunnis, the current political process spells surrender of their Ascendancy.

Pryce-Jones is irate at British efforts to address Sunni fears: "Were it feasible, the driving of a wedge between Saddam loyalists and other Sunnis would be politic, but there is little or no chance of any such thing; the Sunnis huddle for protection in tribal collectivity."

If you musn't placate the Sunnis, then what must you do?

Today the Shia are educated, organised and armed very differently from 1920. Loose among them are also hundreds of Iranian agents, for the moment daubing anti-Western graffiti on walls but otherwise biding their time… Any attempt to discriminate against Iraqi Shia or in favour of Sunnis can only mobilise the killer bands in a competition in violence far more destructive than anything yet seen.

So, the moral of the story is that one should placate the violent Shiites, but not the violent Sunnis–who will eventually be silenced by superior force. Funny how Pryce-Jones, who claims to write about the Middle East, hasn't a clue as to how minority politics actually work.