Sunday, September 14, 2008

Biden’s Selectivity on Iraq

Dan Senor from the Council on Foreign Relations corrects Biden on his clear mis-characterizations of his previous partition plan for Iraq. He writes:
On Sunday, when Mr. Biden was asked about the current progress in Iraq, he managed to take the lion's share of the credit: "I'm encouraged because they're doing the things I suggested . . . That's why it is moving toward some mild possibility of a resolution." But we should be grateful that Iraqis did not do as he suggested. Mr. Biden's frustration with the looming Iraqi civil war in 2006 and early 2007 was understandable. The U.S. was on the verge of total defeat and Iraq was at risk of collapse. But Mr. Biden's plan would have inflamed Iraq's already volatile situation.
He reflects on how parties across ethnic and regional lines opposed Biden’s plan to cut up Iraq.
“Qays al-Atwani, the moderator of the popular "Talk of the Hour" television show, interviewed Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis about the Biden resolution. He concluded: "For the first time in Iraq, all political blocs, decision makers and religious authorities agree on rejecting the [Biden] resolution that contradicts the will of the Iraqi people." The Senate resolution even managed to provoke radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's political supporters to momentarily join their rivals -- all in opposition to the Biden plan.

Secular Sunni parliamentarian Mithal al-Alusi held a news conference in Baghdad to call on the Iraqi government to formally declare Mr. Biden "a persona non grata" in Iraq. As for Iraq's neighbors, The Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League both denounced the Biden resolution.

The uproar was unsurprising, as partition would have involved expelling Iraqis from their homes. How would a partition work, for example, in major cities like Kirkuk, which is majority Kurdish but also has a large Sunni population, and substantial Christian and Turkomen populations? The likely outcome would have been forced relocation. This could have sparked a wave of renewed sectarian violence, if not civil war.”


NeoConstant said...

True, they did not cut up Iraq in quite the manner that Biden suggested. However, there was a population shift throughout Iraq--an organic shift--that has led in some way to a sort of quasi-partition of ethnic groups. This was certainly a contributing factor to the increased peace.

(the uprising against Al Qaeda; the surge; and the broader counter-insurgency of course were all parts as well...)

hydralisk said...

Biden fans don't need to care about this. Iraqis won't be voting in the United States presidential election.

Roland Dodds said...

Neo: You are right, and one of the factors that lead to the current level of peace is the fact that Shiites and Sunnis killed each other so extensively that some cities have been defacto-cleansed. The problem with Biden’s plan is that it would almost guarantee a furthering of that.

You are also right Hydra; I am surprised that his comments on Meet the Press weren’t more discussed in the blog sphere and the media, but since we only care about who uses the internet and lipstick on pigs, I can’t say it doesn’t surprise me. IF we were talking about policy, I would hope this discussion would have gotten more play.