Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sen. Biden Calls for the Balkanization of Iraq

In a NY Times Op-Ed today, Senator Joseph Biden presented a 5-point plan for resolving the "problem" in Iraq. His plan is to divide Iraq into three semi-autonomous regions bound by an intentionally weak central government and constitution guaranteeing equal benefits for all.

Biden's model is Bosnia which has been similarly divided up into several such regions in an attempt to keep the different factions from killing each other.

What Biden fails to see is that the vast majority of the people of Iraq do not want his "solution." They have both suffered together and prospered together in the years since the outlines of Iraq were drawn on an otherwise blank map following WW I. They view themselves as one nation and view themselves as Iraqis. They want peaceful coexistance with one another and realize that what is good for one group (Kurds, Sunni or Shi'ite) is ultimately also in the best interest of the others.

By Balkanizing Iraq, the Kurds would have no need for a centralized government at all. They are quite capable of keeping their own wealth and forming a sovereign nation of their own.

The southern realm of the Shi'ite majority is also culturally and economically self-sufficient and would have little reason to dole out their wealth to the Sunnis as Biden suggests.

The Sunnis would wind up with Bahgdad but so what? They would not have the industry or oil or agriculture to sustain enough of an economy to maintain the city.

Even the population of Bahgdad puts the Sunnis in a minority. Why would Shi'ites in Baghdad want to be ruled by a Sunni government?

Partitioning Iraq would be a dream come true for insurgents, al-Qaeda, Shi'ite radicals (such as al-Sadr) and Iran. Sunni and Kurd minorities in the south would find little welcome as partition would magnify their second-class status at the expense of the common bond of being Iraqi. There would be significant of minorities from the south northward. An autonomous Shi'ite south would leave it fair game for Iran to exploit the unemployment and generally lower education of the population. It is unlikely that the popular and respected Ayatullah al-Sistani could survive the cold, calculation and militia/malicious maneuverings of al-Sadr. The Sunni minority, weak as it is, would be no match for an incursion by Shi'ite radicals from the south. Nor would they be able to protect themselves from the Kurds who would have few qualms about reclaiming cities and provinces where they once lived before Sadaam Hussein purged them and replaced them by his favored Sunni people.

Biden repeatedly stresses that all three national unity governments in Iraq have failed to acheive success in building a nation and providing the necessary security against the insurgent and Islamist terror.

What makes him think that breaking Iraq into three parts is going to make these terrorist disappear? The Balkanization would make them even more effective since their opposition will be divided rather than united against them.

Biden wants the United States military out of Iraq. Yet the model he presents, Bosnia, has only managed to keep from self-destructing because of the presence of the constant presence of American and other international troops.

Who will serve this role in a partitioned Iraq? Would it even be possible for a national military to even exist under such a proposal? I doubt it.

Back when the war began I believed that partition and a loose federation of the three regions would be the unltimate end of the affair. I was not convinced that the people of Iraq would really want to remain a unified country. They have since proven me wrong time after time after time.

The people of Iraq want to remain united and the United States is paying a heavy price to help them to realize their aspirations.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, dismisses the wishes of the Iraqi people, minimizes and demeans the considerable accomplishments that they have acheived and insults our military by saying the entire noble effort has essentially been a waste of time.

Biden wants to get us out of Iraq but the plan he has proposed will simply result in creating a region of weakness, division and instability where the influence or presence of American diplomacy or troops would become impossible to assert.

It appears that the Iraqi people want to build their country the way the want and are willing to suffer the cost of bringing it into reality.

Biden, on the other hand, wants to sell the Iraqi people out for some imagined short-term gain.

I would be interested to see how many Iraqi people would support Biden's suggestion.

My guess is that Iran, al-Qaeda and the dwindling Sunni insurgants would vote for it almost unanimously.

That makes me wonder whose side Biden is on?