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Federalising Iraq?

The Iraq Government has talked about it and now the American Congress seem prepared to embrace the idea: Iraq to be split up into three autonomous regions (Shia, Sunni and Kurd) to limit the potential for currently escalating sectarian conflict to spiral completely out of control with a phased US withdrawal. Given that the Kurds already have an autonomous region the split would mainly need to be designed to limit the potential for a devastating civil war with bloodbath between Sunni and Shia should the US leave – leaving seems to be sought by the majority of Iraqis and implicitly by the US also.

A civil war in Iraq would almost certainly involve increased intervention by Iran and increased instability throughout the Middle East because of fears of Iran’s increased regional role. Federalisation of Iraq looks inevitable anyway – the task is to achieve it with minimum bloodshed while at the same time limiting Iran’s ability to expand its regional hegemony.

6 comments to Federalising Iraq?

  • derrida derider

    Yep, this is the pass that criminal enterprise by the Americans has brought Iraq to.

    But in this merry exchange of populations (a la 1948 in the subcontinent), there’s one insoluble question – who gets the oil?

  • conrad

    Iran 1, USA 0 ?

  • rabee

    Harry, I don’t think that there will be any change to the status quo in Iraq. No federalism and no partition.

    The US, Europe, and even Australia will not make this happen, because they can’t.

    There are several reasons for this
    1) The Sunnah don’t want it
    2) The Shiite Saderists don’t want it.
    3) The whole Arab world, as in people, doesn’t want it.
    4) Turkey and Syria don’t want this to happen.
    5) The US is now out of the picture, they only control the Green zone and have no effective influence outside it. Sure they can cause chaos and bomb cities and villages to the stone age but they can’t implement anything on the ground. have you read about Condi’s recent trip? ّWhat a shambles, she looked helpless.

    Lebanon experienced a long and violent civil war and is still not a federation and is not partitioned. The situation there was even worse. Christian militias did not consider themselves even Arab. In Iraq everyone except the Kurds and the akhmed chalabi stooges view themeselves as Arabs, and despite the civil war, the shiites definitely consider Sunnah as Muslim and most Sunnah consider Shiites as Muslim.

    Sader from the beginning warned against splitting Iraq. His language is that of Iraqi nationalism that is inclusive of Sunnah, Shiites, and even Christians. (of course, that doesn’t stop people wearing uniforms of his millitia kidnapping torturing and and using power tools to drill through the skulls of his opponents)

  • hc

    Rabee, The US needs an exit that does not involve a catastrophic bloodbath. I am surprised you still believe that one Muslim regarding another as a Muslim means anything. Drilling holes in people’s heads kind of gives the game away. Sunni and Shia are separating into distinct neighbourhoods already.

    The main concern of the ‘Arab world’ is the possibility that Iraq will become a client of Iran.

  • rabee

    Harry,

    There is no honorable exit for the US from Iraq. It’s over. The war is likely to continue for many years with a large helpless US presence.

    In my comment about different sects considering each other Muslim I wanted to highlight the difference between the Iraqi situation and the Lebanese situation, which was worse in terms of the underlining differences in the civil war.

    Lebanon is the example that most closely resembles Iraq (except for the US presence). It did not split, it did not federate. For the same reasons that Iraq will not split or federate. The various sects in lebanon also went to their own areas.

    My view is that the civil war is being driven in part by Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia (each for their own reason).

    As for the Arab world wanting an Iraq not under Iranian control, you are right. However, all arab commentaries that I’ve read view a federated Iraq as just that. They understand that the Shiite part of Iraq will be under Iranian control. In fact, it is the Iranians that want a Federated Iraq to gain control of the Shiite sub-states. It is precisely for this reason that arabs don’t want a federated state.

  • derrida derider

    The US needs an exit that does not involve a catastrophic bloodbath.
    Well it’s pretty clear that their entry has involved a catastrophic bloodbath. The Iraqis can hardly be worse off.

    And I’d suggest that the 70% of Iraqis who want them to leave are in a better position to judge than us.