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The Future of Iraq Under Established Security Zones

September 16, 1992



Regarding the Opinion page article "Beyond the `No Fly' Zone," Sept. 2: I agree with many points the author makes. I do not support the extreme harshness that Saddam Hussein uses in carrying out his policies. Saddam, however, is an Iraqi and an Arab. And it was not until 1958 that the people of Iraq had a native government, and they are proud that their leaders are at last their own.

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Under what the author calls the "Old Guard" or the Baath administration, the holdings of the wealthy were broken up, the peasantry achieved greater rights to their land, the middle class greatly increased in size, education was made compulsory for girls and boys, and the status of women was appreciably elevated.

The goals of the Baath party also include secularism, pluralism, and in the future representative government. True, today Iraq has a one-party system, but representative structures are in place in the form of the parliament established in the early 1980s and the elections which have been held regularly.

What would the independent social organizations which Kurds and Shiites might establish in north and south security zones look like? In the north, the Iraqi Kurds have always joined their brothers in Iran, Turkey, Syria, and the Commonwealth of Independent States to play these nations off against one another to gain power for themselves. In this region, traditional paternalistic values would show no signs of abating under the pressures from wary neighbors. In the south, the fundamentalist religious value s currently in vogue in Shiite societies would prevail.

Would these two patterns be so far superior to the Baathist goals of economic and social development? Though these goals would be more difficult than ever for the central region to achieve, they could be a development model for all other Middle Eastern countries and for the third world as a whole. Charles Kelly, Philadelphia

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