Who Benefits From A Divided Iraq?
I'll give you a hint - it's not US.
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., saying sectarian violence is driving the country toward civil war, Monday proposed partitioning Iraq into three semiautonomous regions as part of a plan to defuse internal strife and speed withdrawal of all U.S. troops by 2008.And Biden's not alone.
Biden said his plan will give competing religious and ethnic groups administrative authority over their regions. Each region would have a share of Iraq's oil revenue, which would be administered by a central government with limited authority. Biden, a leading Democratic voice on foreign policy, unveiled the plan at the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia.
"The sectarian genie is out of the bottle," Biden said. "Ethnic militias increasingly are the law in large parts of Iraq. They have infiltrated the official security forces. Sectarian cleansing has begun in mixed areas, with tens of thousands of Iraqis fleeing their homes in recent weeks, and dozens of dead bodies turn up in Baghdad daily."
The White House said Iraqis have rejected such plans before.
"A partitioned government with regional security forces and a weak central government is something that no Iraqi leader has proposed, and that the Iraqi people have not supported," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
Biden said his plan would give Iraq's main competing religious and ethnic groups administrative authority over their regions, and permit them to establish their own military forces.
The idea has been gathering steam in various think tanks over the past year . . . Biden spelled out his ideas in article with Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, in the New York Times Monday.But, others insist that dividing Iraq would be bad for Iraq AND bad for US.
Anthony Cordesman, who holds the Arleigh Burke chair in strategy at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, Monday published a CSIS paper criticizing the practicality of the idea. "Iraq does not have a neat set of ethnic dividing lines," he wrote. "There has never been a meaningful census of Iraq that shows exactly how its Arab Sunnis, Arab Shiites, Kurds and other factions are divided or where they are located. Recent elections have made it clear, however, that its cities and 18 governorates all have significant minorities, and any effort to divide the country would require massive relocations."Now, who would want that to happen?
Also, partitioning Iraq may well make the United States far more enemies than friends in the Middle East.