May 30, 2009

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iraq pullout debate vimeo version One of the major advantages of dots is that you can use them to simplify complex situations. I am currently studying the Iraq situation in great detail and I wanted to see if I could model the situation for someone who knows nothing about the situation in under 6 minutes. This is a living model so if you have suggestions of feedback please let me know; my intention (as should be the aim of any good presentation) is to start a dialogue. Transcript from "iraq pullout debate" mondaydots model: In order to understand the instability in Iraq, you must first understand the different players, their motives, and location of the country. So let's meet the players. You have the Sunnis from the West and the ShIia from the South East. These two groups have not got along for over 1400 years because of fundamental religious differences. Then you have the Kurds from the north who don't get along with either the Sunni or Shiia and the U.S. from halfway around the world trying to figure it all out! For most it is difficult to understand why Iraq is such an important place. Why would so many people be so concerned over a patch of desert? Well Iraq is much more than just a desert. It is rich in natural resources and more importantly it has a very powerful central location in the middle east. After World War 1, when the British conquered the Ottoman Empire, they divided up the land with the French and drew the borders for the country of Iraq. In doing so Iraq became the de-facto boxing ring for the middle east. The Sunnis, Shias, and the Kurds all want control of the nation, and the nations around Iraq have a vested interest in seeing that a specific sect has control over this central country. For example you have Sunni dominated Saudi Arabia rooting for the Sunnis, Shiia dominated Iran for the Shiias, and Kurd dominated turkey for the Kurds. In 2003 the U.S. invaded Iraq based on incorrect information that the country, and more specifically Saddam, possessed weapons of mass destruction. They removed Saddam and his entire party from rule; essentially toppling the Iraqi government. After a couple different types of insurgent efforts, and the position of control over the country left essentially vacant, sectarian violence exploded across the country, with each entity battling to take control. Realizing that the removal of Saddam, could be the cause a nationwide civil war or a greater regional war; the U.S. were forced to stay. Their goal was to prevent war and rebuild the government to bring stability to the nation and region. At the beginning of this effort, the U.S. set up camp in large bases called forward operating bases. To minimize American casualties, they often only left the bases to go on scheduled patrols, break up skirmishes, or to clear a neighborhood or village, and then returning immediately back to base. This strategy had some...

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