Iraqi leadership unites against partition plan

Iraq’s bitterly divided political leadership came together Sept. 30 to denounce a non-binding US Senate resolution approved last week that endorses the decentralization of Iraq through the establishment of semi-autonomous regions. That same day, the US Embassy in Baghdad issued a statement of its own criticizing the resolution, which advocates a “federal system” with a weak central government and strong Sunni Arab, Shi’ite and Kurdish regions. “The Congress adopted this proposal based on an incorrect reading and unrealistic estimations of the history, present and future of Iraq,” said Izzat al-Shahbandar, a member of ex-prime minister Ayad Allawi’s parliament bloc. “It represents a dangerous precedent to establishing the nature of the relationship between Iraq and the USA, and shows the Congress as if it were planning for a long-term occupation by their country’s troops.” The statement was also signed by Iraq’s leading Shi’ite parties and the main Sunni Arab bloc. The US Embassy’s highly unusual statement said the resolution would seriously harm Iraq’s future stability.

The Senate resolution, approved 75-23 Sept. 26, has its origin in a proposal by Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), and Council of Foreign Relations president emeritus Leslie Gelb. It has met with a particularly harsh response by Iraq’s Sunnis. “We refuse the resolutions which decide Iraq’s destiny from outside Iraq,” said Hashim Taie, a member of the Iraqi Accordance Front, the parliament’s main Sunni bloc. “This is a dangerous partitioning based on sectarianism and ethnicity.”

Radical Shi’ite leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s supporters also joined in denouncing the measure. “This project is the strategic option for the American administration in its failure [in] igniting a sectarian war inside Iraq,” said Sadr spokesman Nasr Rubaie said. “They started to search for a replacement, which is to divide Iraq.” (Los Angeles Times, Oct. 1)

Well, the Sadr forces have certainly been vigorously participants in Iraq’s sectarian war. Maybe this Seante measure will have a paradoxically salubrious effect—uniting Iraqis against it, and painting those who would engage in sectarian violence as pawns of an imperialist conspiracy!

Count this as another blow against the humbled neocons. With any luck, the hour has passed for their hubristic agendas to divide Iraq (and ultimately the rest of the Middle East), which have sparked much paranoia

However, what of the Kurds? The LAT account does not say whether their leaders joined in the statement denouncing the Senate measure…

See our last posts on Iraq, the Kurds and the sectarian war.

  1. Iraq: Shi’ites protest Pentagon Sunni strategy
    After that rare show of unity, its back to business as usual. From the Washington Post, Oct. 3:

    The largest Shiite political coalition in Iraq demanded Tuesday that the U.S. military abandon its recruitment of Sunni tribesmen into the Iraqi police force, saying some are members of “armed terrorist groups” and are killing, kidnapping and extorting under the guise of fighting al Qaeda in Iraq.

    The statement by the United Iraqi Alliance, the Shiite bloc of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, is the most direct rebuke to a policy that U.S. military officers hold up as one of their most important achievements over the past year.


    “We condemn and reject embracing those terrorist elements which committed the most hideous crimes against our people,” the United Iraqi Alliance statement said. It also condemned “authorizing the groups to conduct security acts away from the jurisdiction of the government and without its knowledge,” the statement said.

    It went on: “We demand that the American administration stop this adventure, which is rejected by all the sons of the people and its national political powers.”

  2. Iraq Freedom Congress opposes partition plan
    From the Iraq Freedom Congress, Sept. 27:

    No to the Federalism of Occupation that disregards Human Identity
    Today, the United States Senate adopted a resolution in which partitioning of Iraq to regional federalism is proposed. This decision comes after more than four years of virtually dividing Iraq (legally, constitutionally and politically) to wards. Since the occupation of Iraq, the Governing Council and all successive governments were established based on sectarianism and ethnicity after enacting a constitution that paved the way for this division. What is taking place today, such as the conflict at the highest level of the political power in Iraq and the killing of thousands of innocent people by militia groups who are wrestling among each other throughout the recent years, is a clear expression of each group’s intention to obtain a greater share of power, influence and wealth based on the aforementioned division.

    The resolution ended the long-lasted debate as to whether keeping a united Iraq or divided one. This decision is a clear recognition of the failure of the US policy that occupied and devastated Iraq to create a US-like state in the region. The partition resolution is the final card of the US administration to exit its predicament and salvage what can be saved of the US project in Iraq and the region.

    As to the sectarian and ethnic powers that openly supported the occupation of Iraq and the brutality of the crimes committed against the public, this resolution came to strengthen their positions; at least in the current stage to move forward in the implementation of their agenda

    The partition of Iraq on the basis of sectarian and ethnic federalism means that the fate of the Iraqis is in the hands of the reactionary authority of the sectarian and ethnic militias and the imposition of more retroactive forms of ideologies and laws on the society.

    Furthermore; the partition of Iraq is deemed sealing an ethnic or sectarian identity on the forehead of Iraqis forever without regards to their humanitarian identity.

    If Iraq is to be one unified state, then there must be one law that treats people on the basis of humanitarian identity.

    Iraqi Freedom Congress calls upon freedom-loving people around the world to chant “No Shiite… No Sunni… ours is human identity” and “No to the occupation federalism that deprives people from their humanity” to tackle the occupation agenda.

    The chaos and the cycle of violence that society is suffering from are the fallouts of the occupation and its policy. Iraq Freedom Congress strongly denounces this resolution and states that there will be no peace and stability before the end of the occupation.

    See our last statement from Iraq’s civil resistance.