“Revenge was also held of more account than self-preservation.”
-- Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War
The United States (US) must realize cultural awareness across the operational environment in Iraq in order to solidify regional security and further American interests in the Middle East. Ethnicity is a critical contextual factor in Iraq which is contributing to the great difficulties in the nation’s socio-cultural and political situation and directly impacting the outcome of the United States’ military and diplomatic initiatives we have undertaken. The long-term viability of Iraq as a country and regional power depends on the separate ethnicities within the country ...view middle of the document...
These groups are primarily Muslim and Christian and have faced severe treatment under previous Iraqi regimes. While these groups make up a small percentage of the overall Iraqi population they do contribute greatly to the socio-cultural and political situation within Iraq. (AF, 28-29, 2010).
When looking at the socio-cultural and political situation in Iraq using ethnicity as the lens it is apparent that Iraq is still struggling to overcome the historical record of violence, broken promises and outright hatred between the different ethnic groups. During the height of the insurgency when Iraq was attempting to create a governing body Andy Cordesman describes the raging internal conflict as “a “war after the war” that threatens to divide the country and create a full-scale conflict. It has triggered sectarian and ethnic violence that dominates the struggle to reshape Iraq as a modern state, and has emerged as a growing threat to the gulf region” (Cordesman, 2, 2007). This leads one to clearly see that friction between the various ethnic groups and the tribal tendencies toward government administration each individually contribute to the fragile state which the Government of Iraq (GoI) finds itself in politically and socially.
The specific tribal tendency towards nepotism has been an extreme hindrance on relations between ethnic groups and has caused many problems as the Iraqi people of attempted to establish a government with rule of law. Over 75% of the population in Iraq, no matter the ethnic group, belong to a tribe and demonstrate a strict allegiance to their fellow tribal members. This impedes the government in many ways; one obvious way is the appointment of ministers and administrators. Instead of the appointment going to the most deserving or most qualified, in order to consolidate power within their tribe leader’s appointment members who are fiercely loyal to themselves and their tribe. This breeds distrust amongst the ethnic groups not in power and leads to an overall lower performance from the offices where this happens.
The socio-cultural situation in Iraq is another aspect strained by ethnicity. As more and more Iraqis migrate to the safe havens the separate ethnicities have created for their people the society as a whole is being manipulated towards more homogeneous paths. The ongoing brain drain from Iraq is also occurring at a rapid pace, primarily caused due to the ethnic and religious conflicts that the GoI has not been able to control since its establishment. This flight of intellectuals from the country of Iraq will not only affect the society today, but will have an absolutely crushing effect on the next generations of Iraqis. US diplomatic and military initiatives are attempting to stave off these effects on the Iraqi social-cultural atmosphere.
The US diplomatic initiatives in Iraq have been clearly spelled out from congress in the Military Success in Iraq and Diplomatic Source for National and...