As if they haven't
done enough damage bombing and invading a country on false pretences,
destroying its culture and leaving it a charred shell of its former self, they
-- American lawmakers who gave President George W. Bush authority to go to war
-- now want to divide Iraq up into easily manageable bite size entities.
Isn't Iraq supposed
to be a sovereign nation with an elected government? If so, then why is the US
Senate attempting to meddle in its affairs by overwhelmingly passing a
resolution calling for the country's partition into three, which is tantamount
to ethnic cleansing? Not to put too fine a point, the shape of Iraq to come
isn't their business.
Moreover, even if
they had a stake in the country they are responsible for destroying, which they
certainly do not, American senators who may or may not have enjoyed a two-day
jaunt to Baghdad's Green Zone are not qualified to be the deciders.
The Iraqi government
was quick to put a damper on the proposal. Its spokesman, Ali Al Dabbagh, said,
"It's the Iraqis who decide these sorts of issues, no one else".
According to a recent
ABC/BBC poll a mere 9 per cent of Iraqis favour the break-up of their country.
The Arab League was
equally condemnatory. Its Iraq representative, Ali Al Garush, called upon Arab
nations to stand by the Iraqi people in their opposition to the proposal.
the GCC, Abdul Rahman Al Attiyah, said partition would make the situation in
Iraq more difficult and complicated. Official statements from Syria and Iran
were even more scathing.
With so much Iraqi
and regional hostility against the plan what are those 75 senators that voted
in favour of it thinking? It was Democratic Senator Joseph Biden, a
presidential hopeful, who initiated the vote.
Biden explained his
rationale during a news conference. He maintains his proposal offers a way to
bring home American troops while leaving behind a stable Iraq. It's evident
that his thinking is based on a series of false premises.
First of all, the
future of Iraq should not be designed around a convenient exit for US troops.
Biden and his colleagues should understand a simple principle: American troops
are the interlopers not the Iraqi people, who have suffered enough already.
partitioning of Iraq into a loose federation of Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish
states will not bring stability as he suggests. There would have to be a
massive displacement of people, many of whom would end up impoverished or
Such a division would
also lead to friction over natural resources. For instance, Biden's plan calls
for just 20 per cent of oil revenues going to Sunnis, who already feel hard
done by after losing the political influence they once enjoyed. There is also
the question of which mini-state would control oil-rich Kirkuk, an ethnically
mixed city strongly coveted by the Kurds.
Moreover, there is no
guarantee that such insular states would not be mutually hostile, further exacerbating
existing ethnic tensions.
many Kurds are amenable to complete autonomy, their neighbours are most
definitely not. If a Kurdish state became a reality it's probable that Turkey
Turkey fears that
such an entity would unduly influence its own Kurdish population, which has its
own separatist ambitions. Iran also has strong objections.
Fourth, such a
break-up would stand as a worrying precedent for vulnerable countries in the
region with multi-ethnic populations.
Either Biden is
completely clueless and is unaware of the havoc such a breakup of Iraq would
wreak, or he harbours a more sinister agenda.
If Iraq were to be
broken into three, the nation would be rendered toothless for all time in the same
way the former Yugoslavia is today.
The US would then
have an excuse to stay around in some force "to protect" such tiny
fledgling states from each other and from their neighbours. In fact, it would
consolidate complete domination of their oil because such small entities would
no longer have a voice.
The biggest winner
from the partitioning of Iraq would be Israel, whose officials and journalists
have long advocated such division.
On the Shalom TV
website there is an interview with Joe Biden, who refers to Israel as the
"single greatest strength America has in the Middle East," and
proclaims with pride "I am a Zionist." We should believe him.
Here's a suggestion
for the Arab world. How about a vote on the break-up of America?
How about giving
California back to Mexico, returning Hawaii to its indigenous islanders and
Alaska to the Eskimos and Indians?
Caucasians to the East and West coasts, and package up a few states in between
for African Americans and Latinos. And while we're about it, let's invite
foreign conglomerates to buy up the country's oil, gas and timber.
cleansing that might be but that's exactly what Biden and friends think they
have the right to do in Iraq. Surely if such uninformed nose-poking is good
enough for Washington, it's equally appropriate for the rest of us.
S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes
feedback and can be contacted by email at email@example.com.