NEWS & OPINION: The real and imagined faultlines in Iraq

U.S. Senate vote unites Iraqis in anger

Iraq’s political leadership, in a rare show of unity, skewered a nonbinding U.S. Senate resolution passed last week that endorses the decentralization of Iraq through the establishment of semiautonomous regions.

The measure, which calls for a relatively weak central government and strong regional authorities in Sunni Arab, Shiite and Kurdish areas, has touched a nerve here, raising fears that the United States is planning to partition Iraq. [complete article]

U.S. tries to allay anger over Iraq partition plan

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.

“Attempts to partition or divide Iraq by intimidation, force or other means into three separate states would produce extraordinary suffering and bloodshed.”

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. [complete article]

Chaos and unity in a fragmented Iraq

What General David Petreaus and his master, President George W. Bush, would like us to believe is that recent American policy in Iraq can be seen as a military success but a political failure judged in terms of the inability of the country’s sectarian leaders to unite. What they cannot see is that the two are much more closely related than they are willing to admit.

One factor is that by arming and financing the Sunni tribes in Anbar Province as local militias, the U.S. military is both recognizing the lack of central government control and helping to undermine it still further.

But there is much more to it than that. The major reasons why sectarian leaders cannot come together to create a united leadership for a united Iraq is that, rather than being able to control their followers outside the Green Zone, they are now, to a larger extent, controlled by them. [complete article]

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