Sunday, September 30, 2007

Looks Like Joe Biden Hit a Nerve

October 1, 2007

U.S. Tries to Allay Anger Over Iraq Partition Plan



BAGHDAD, Sept. 30 — The American Embassy reiterated its support on Sunday for a united Iraq as six political parties together voiced their objection to a United States Senate resolution endorsing partitioning the country into three states. In a statement, the embassy said: “Our goal in Iraq remains the same: a united democratic, federal Iraq that can govern, defend and sustain itself.
. . . The statement rebuffs the nonbinding Senate measure, sponsored by Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, and approved last week, which calls for Iraq to be divided into federal regions controlled respectively by Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites. The proposal resembles the power-sharing arrangement used to end the 1990s war in Bosnia among Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats.
Many Iraqi politicians have reacted angrily to the proposal, suggesting that at the very least they find it presumptuous . . . Iraqis have volunteered their opinion to American reporters they encountered. Said one, “So you are going to divide our country.”
. . . The Kurdish parties and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, led by the Shiite cleric Abdul Aziz Hakim, however, strongly support an arrangement in which much of the central government’s power is devolved to the regions. The Kurds already run a semiautonomous state in the north, and the Supreme Council hopes to see the nine majority Shiite provinces in the south band together to form a Shiite region.
_________________________________________________________________
If I have this right, Senator Biden seems to have hit more of a nerve about whose idea it was then the difficulty of Iraqi acceptance of partition. In the “So you are going to divide our country” statement, the you was more a problem than the divide our country.
America is one of the only (maybe the only) nation that has ever fought a civil war to hold itself together. Yugoslavia doesn't count, it wasn't so much trying to achieve that as to divide the spoils.
In most instances and certainly in Iraq, civil war cannot possibly provide the country with a single entity capable of holding it all together. Democracy is no picnic to achieve, but you have to at least start with people who want to build a nation together. The Kurds don't want it and neither the Shiites or Sunnis are powerful enough to control the war-lords and Mullahs.
Only Saddam was capable of that, as only Tito could hold Yugoslavia together.
So, Joe Biden (who is often criticized for his candor) nailed it. Joe often nails it, but he is far too straight a shooter to ever become president. Obviously, the U.S. Senate doesn't control the Iraqi Parliament--which can't control itself, which is the real proof of a very stinky pudding. Unlike wine or cheese, this pudding will not improve with age.
But Joe has done a great service by beginning a dialog that Iraqis have thus far ignored. Truth is (as far as truth can ever be known) Iraq will end up a partitioned country--one way or another.

* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Iraq War, check out Opinion-Columns.com

1 comment:

  1. One excerpt of a recent anti-Biden plan op-ed by Robert Scheer I think is misguided: "Actually, Senator, you do have a higher obligation: to think through the need for this mission before you vote to put troops in harm's way..."

    I think someone needs to point out a crucial fact: our soldiers are ALREADY there- Biden's NOT putting more soldiers in Iraq. Not funding their protection means more of those soldiers will die- and I highly doubt that Mr. Scheer wants more of our soldiers to die. Simply stripping our soldiers of their protection would mean that when our soldiers finally DO get home, they'd be dead while we could have brought home those same soldiers ALIVE. Biden has stated on numerous occasions that we need to bring our soldiers home as earliest as possible- he even said that before most of the Democratic leadership thought it was a good idea. Maybe he should have made his wish more explicit- to bring home our men and women ALIVE.

    "Fortunately, the vast majority of Iraqis, whom Biden did not bother to consult, rejected that prescription for ethnic cleansing and endless civil war. Fully 98 percent of Iraqis told BBC/ABC pollsters that dividing their country along sectarian lines would be bad for Iraq..."

    This is another excerpt that I find glaringly false. The fighting in Iraq IS "ethnic cleansing" AND "civil war". The chaos now going on in Iraq is mainly Shia killing Sunni, Kurds killing Shia, etc. They will NEVER get along- at least in the near future. ALSO, Iraq is ALREADY divided up into regional zones, and trespassers from the different regions are slaughtered; this is the civil war we've been hearing about. The civil war Mr. Scheer doesn't seem to think is happening is causing the majority of the deaths Mr. Scheer seems to be worried about. Iraq is already "partitioned" and consumed by "ethnic cleansing" and "civil war".

    By the way, I suggest that the plan's detractors look up the definitive distinction between FEDERALISM and PARTITION if you want to criticize Biden's plan more effectively. I especially recommend that anyone with an interest in what the Iraqis ACTUALLY WANT look into the work of Bakar Humam Hammoudi, the Iraqi Constitution committee chairman, Fouad Massoum, the chair of the Kurdish delegation and Adnan al-Janabi, chair of the Sunni delegation. Also examine the efforts of Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of Iraq's largest political party, Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) and look at the United Iraqi Alliance, which got 4.08 million out of 8 million (48.1%) votes in 2005. I urge everyone to examine their negotiations between Iraqi Shia, Sunni and Kurd AND look at their own consensus: they WANT FEDERALISM. Joe Biden is making the U.S. listen to that IRAQI consensus. He wants IRAQ to be for IRAQIS.

    Biden simply wants to give the Iraqis what they themselves want: their own regions officially recognized AND legalized (they already have de facto regions) and thereby their territorial integrity/autonomy respected. If this is done, the ethnic-based civil war WILL END, because the regions will largely be autonomous and no one would even WANT to cross into the different regions because they WANT their own INDEPENDENT regions. One of the main reasons for the "civil war" (I would call is a slaughter) is that everyone is in each other's face, they have a visceral hatred towards the other ethnic group and they want their own local affairs to be left untouched by the other side. That is even written in their own constitution. Biden is giving them what they want. Their desires might not be explicit all the time, but it is definitely strongly implicit in the ethnic slaughter going on right now in Iraq.

    When will Americans wake up and realize the fact that they have to let Iraq govern themselves according to THEIR own wishes? When will they realize that they can no longer tell Iraq or Iraqis how to live their lives? Doesn't self-determination mean anything to us anymore- or does that democratic ideal apply only to us?

    I also suggest critics who worry about federalism's effects on the Sunni minority look at the advocacy efforts of Tareq al Hashemi, the head of the Islamic Party of Iraq (IPI), which is a widely-popular Sunni political party. He also is a major participant within the Iraqi consensus that Iraq should have federalism.

    I want to re-emphasize my earlier sentiment: IRAQ FOR IRAQIS- NOT ONLY FOR AMERICANS!! IRAQI IRAQ, NOT AMERICAN IRAQ!!

    ReplyDelete