Joe Biden's notion of soft partition may have gone down well with the Senate but it isn't being met with approval in Iraq and the region.
The Arab League and Iraq's Shi'ite vice president have rejected a U.S. Senate resolution calling for the creation of a loose, de-centralized system of government in Iraq.Indeed, that last point seems to have been forgotten by the "you broke it, you own it" crowd, who appear to think they can hang around the Pottery Barn like a bad smell telling the owners how to run their business instead of paying for the breakages and getting the f**k out.
An official with the 22-nation Arab League, Ali al-Garoush, said Thursday the plan runs against Arab interests.
Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, one of Iraq's two vice presidents, said it is up to Iraqis to decide the future of their country.
For an antidote to that pernicious train of thought from an actual expert, let's turn to Dr. Reidar Visser, Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and specialist in the Middle East and issues of regionalism and national structures. He is one of the acknowledged world leaders in his field. (via Firedoglake):
A few days ago, an angry voice could be heard on television: “Like heck we can’t tell the Iraqis what to do.” This was Joseph Biden, the Democratic senator! Yes, it is probably true that, if the United States seriously wishes to enforce a division of Iraq – by circumventing the Iraqi constitution – it has the military capability to do so. But it would be a tragic outcome of the supposed democratization of Iraq if Washington should choose to exit by neo-imperialistically imposing a particular state structure on the country. It would alienate huge sections of the Iraqi population. It would be a gross provocation to most of Iraq’s neighbors, who view a tripartite federation as a particularly brittle state structure and a powder keg in terms of potential regional instability. And it would be the ultimate gift to al-Qaida – who would finally get the manifest evidence they have been craving in order to back up their conspiracy theory of the US as a pro-Zionist force bent on subdividing the Middle East into weak and sectarian statelets. Senator Biden would do well to consider the long-term damage to American interests that would follow from such reactions before he annexes Basra to the Middle Euphrates, merges Diyala and Kut, and rips the heart out of Mosul.It seems to me that this may be another symptom of the underlying reason we have Dems enabling Cheney's wish for war with Iran and why the Dem frontrunners won't commit to getting US troops out of Iraq by the end of their hypothetical term. All of them have apparently bought into the notion of a divine American mandate to rule. The only quibble is whether you the U.S. should talk nice before it imposes its will by force or not. It's sheer hubris and folly, as Iraq should have taught them already, but that won't dissuade them. They're on a mission from God.
Today, Visser points them to their fate:
All in all the Biden amendment serves as an alarming but useful numerical indication of the level of support for an “ethnic” approach to Iraqi politics in the US Senate. It does not bode well for the future that the challengers to President Bush seem to converge on a scheme that would be even more unpalatable to the Muslim world than Washington’s current policy. True, Bush invaded Iraq, and Paul Bremer weakened it severely. There are worrying signs that some in the State Department, like Ryan Crocker, are already indistinguishable from Biden by tirelessly “encouraging” Sunnis to think in terms of federalism. But if his partition plans were implemented, Joe Biden would be remembered by Muslims and Arabs around the world in an altogether different way. He would be considered alongside other historical personalities who routinely are being accused by Middle Easterners for having destroyed their region completely: Arthur Balfour, Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot.