Argument: Partitioning of Iraq would merely formalize current sectarian separations


  • Biden Press release: “Biden Plan for Iraq Gains Key Bipartisan Support and Momentum”. September, 20 2007 – “Federalism is not a U.S. or foreign imposition on Iraq. Iraq’s own constitution calls a “decentralized, federal system” and sets out the powers of the regions (extensive) and those of the central government (limited). The Constitution also says that in case of conflict between regional and national law, regional law prevails.” – “Federalism will not accelerate sectarian cleansing; it’s the only way to stop it. Iraqis are already voting with their feet, as yesterday’s article in the New York Times demonstrates. Before the surge, Iraqis were fleeing their homes at a rate of about 40,000 month; now, it’s about 100,000 a month. Unless Iraqis come to some kind of agreement on sharing power peacefully, the cleansing will continue.”
  • Ambassador Dennis Ross, Counselor and Ziegler Distinguished Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy – “The only thing I would say, though, as I’ve noted before, with 100,000 Iraqis being displaced a month, you’re beginning to create the outlines of that on the ground [a federal system in Iraq]. So I was actually in favor of the idea before, and I think it may have more of a potential now because of that reality.”
  • Peter Galbraith “The Case for Dividing Iraq” Time 11/05/06 – Galbraith points out that after creating a unity government in 1921, “Churchill later described Iraq’s forced unity as one of his biggest mistakes.”
  • Peter Galbraith, a former U.S. ambassador to Croatia who has advised the Kurds on constitutional issues, “The Case for Dividing Iraq” Time 11/05/06 – “The case for the partition of Iraq is straightforward: It has already happened. The Kurds, a non-Arab people who live in the country’s north, enjoy the independence they long dreamed about. The Iraqi flag does not fly in Kurdistan, which has a democratically elected government and its own army. In southern Iraq, Shi’ite religious parties have carved out theocratic fiefdoms, using militias that now number in the tens of thousands to enforce an Iranian-style Islamic rule. To the west, Iraq’s Sunni provinces have become chaotic no-go zones, with Islamic insurgents controlling Anbar province while Baathists and Islamic radicals operate barely below the surface in Salahaddin and Nineveh. And Baghdad, the heart of Iraq, is now partitioned between the Shi’ite east and the Sunni west. The Mahdi Army, the most radical of the Shi’ite militias, controls almost all the Shi’ite neighborhoods, and al-Qaeda has a large role in Sunni areas. Once a melting pot, Baghdad has become the front line of Iraq’s Sunni-Shi’ite war, which is claiming at least 100 lives every day. Most Iraqis do not want civil war. But they have rejected the idea of a unified Iraq. In the December 2005 national elections, Shi’ites voted overwhelmingly for Shi’ite religious parties, Sunni Arabs for Sunni religious or nationalist parties, and the Kurds for Kurdish nationalist parties. Fewer than 10% of Iraq’s Arabs crossed sectarian lines. The Kurds voted 98.7% for independence in a nonbinding referendum.”