May 02, 2006

Joe of Arabia

If anybody cares, yesterday our senior senator had what I can only assume was an important statement on Iraq because it appeared in the New York Times (free sign-in required). Naturally, Joe can't resist working in a few DNC talking points like, "[it] is increasingly clear that President Bush does not have a strategy for victory in Iraq." Jibes like this sound remarkably hollow from someone whose party's luminaries have stated that both Iraq and our military are broken, and that we should give up and leave. That said, give him credit for putting up a plan that consists of more than (1) Cut, and (2) Run.

In the column, he argues for dividing Iraq up into ethnic federations -- Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni -- with the central government controlling control border defense, foreign affairs and oil revenues. By the looks of this WaPo article, it would appear that splitting up Iraq is becoming vogue.

I disagree with Biden on this mainly because I just can't see the central government in his model being strong enough to off-set Iran or Syria. Biden in fact seems to understand this, and suggests having an international or UN umbrella to guarantee Iraq's security from its neighbors. Given the ineffectiveness of the UN and our problems with even willing allies, this seems naively optimistic; in the end, the only thing that can guarantee Iraqi security for the foreseeable future is the U.S. By necessity, this would mean a continued, substantial American troop presence, and not the withdrawal that Joe foresees.

Also, I don't agree with his premise for the ethnic federations which boils down to, "these people can't really live in a single society." That may yet be the case. But since a new unity government has just been seated, and given news that some of Iraq's Sunni rebels are laying down their arms, giving up on a unified Iraq is premature.

Still, it's the lone Democrat pronouncement I've heard on the subject recently that at least contemplates American success in Iraq. To that extent, it's a welcome addition to the debate.

Posted by JakeM at May 2, 2006 12:48 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Carving up a state along ethnic lines worked very well for Yugoslavia....

Posted by: Duffy at May 2, 2006 03:35 PM

Joe is so far behind me on this, I posted something similar back in February when al Qaeda blew up the Golden Dome mosque.

I excerpt as follows:

"...the Balkanization of Iraq, an artificial nation state created by the Treaty of Versailles as a British mandate, carved out of the Ottoman Empire. There used to be three distinct kingdoms of Basra in the south, Mosul in the north, and Baghdad in the center, but that's going back to about 1,000 AD. Anyway, if they can't all just get along, I say dismantle the whole damn country. Let the Kurds have a Kurdistan, already! Let the Sunnis have their precious Caliphate of Baghdad, and the Shiites can have the south, where the oil and the ports are, hah hah hah! That's what you get for oppressing them, you bloody Saddamites!"

Has Joe been lurking in the Delasphere?

Posted by: G Rex at May 2, 2006 04:19 PM

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