? Divide Iraq into Three States?
By Jerome Grossman
For several years, Senator Joseph Biden, D-Delaware, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been promoting a division of Iraq into three separate states, Shiite, Sunni, and Kurd, linked by a weak federal government. The theory is that the separation will allow each group to organize itself in accordance with its own traditions and objectives, to adopt separate policies, to elect its own leaders, thereby minimizing conflict and ending the civil war now raging for power and resources.
The plan needs to be taken seriously, because in September the U.S. Senate formally voted approval by 77 Democrats and Republicans. However, the Prime Minister of Iraq and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq immediately criticized the Biden plan as ineffective and unworkable.
Although each of the three groupings dominate particular areas, in many cities and towns they had been living together for years. Separation would require mass migrations involving loss of homes, jobs, as well as schools and associations that would be painful for all concerned and would certainly lead to local conflict in the very process of separation as people are forced to dispose of their assets.
How would the borders of each state be set? There are no natural divisions and the resolution of the border problem would surely lead to conflict.
How would the oil revenues be divided? Iraq lives off its oil with no other significant assets. In the likely Sunni area, there is no oil. Would they receive a fair division of the revenues? Would it be on a population basis, on area of land, on needs? How much would be stolen by people in the other two states?
Will each area have its own defense forces, or its own police? Would one area import enough arms and foreign soldiers in an attempt to conquer the other two? Would an arms race develop for defensive or offensive purposes?
Could each area afford the inevitable triplication of services notably more expensive than services by a single, unified government? Could each state support itself?
Would these three little weak countries be dominated or absorbed by powerful neighbors Iran and Saudi Arabia?
Would Turkey allow an independent or semi -- independent Kurdistan? The Kurds are the largest ethnic group, 25 million, in the world without their own country. They are anxious to unite their scattered people now residing in Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. Those nations refuse to surrender any part of their territory to the Kurds. Right now, Turkey has many troops on the border of Kurdish Iraq to prevent Kurdish infiltration.
The fact that the U.S. Senate promotes the Biden plan is additional evidence of the dominance of the U.S. in Iraqi affairs. The U.S. has the controlling military power, as well as the political power through the puppets the U.S. selected, installed and supports. However, the Bush administration is unlikely to adopt the Biden plan. The practical difficulties are too great and partition is contrary to the prime U.S. interests in the Middle East. The U.S. needs Iraq as a military base to dominate the area where 60% of the Earth's oil reserves and 40% of the natural gas are located. Control of those reserves will give the U.S. another tool to influence the policies of other nations. The U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq without an exit strategy because it never intended to leave. The continuing occupation will have fewer problems with a unified Iraq. With 737 military bases already in 130 countries, control of Iraq will add another region to U.S. hegemony.