Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Logical breakdown of Biden’s Iraq plan

Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 23:05

[Letter to the editor published in The Hill (Washington, D.C.)]

Despite attempts by Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) to explain his plan for Iraq in greater detail (“Biden rebuts criticism of Iraq decentralization plan,” Oct. 2), some obvious flaws in his scheme remain. The main problem is purely logical: If Biden is to be given credit for a distinctive “Iraq plan,” then this plan must either make the Iraqis do something they will not do of their own free will, or it must enable them to do something that they want to do but which the Bush administration is currently preventing them from doing. Biden denies that it is the former, so his challenge is to prove that the Bush administration is suppressing a genuine Iraqi desire to do something about federalism that corresponds to Biden’s ideas. The problem with that is that if one asks Iraqis, they will refer to the full-fledged Iraqi legal framework for federalization that already exists and which requires no outside intervention whatsoever. The procedures for implementing federalism in Iraq, consisting of the Iraqi constitution and the detailed legislation adopted in October 2006, unequivocally assert that (1) no federalization can start before April 1, 2008; (2) any new federal regions should come as the result of popular grassroots initiatives in the existing governorates; and (3) there is no imperative for every governorate in Iraq to opt for a federal status (theoretically, the number of new federal regions may be anywhere from zero to 15). Biden’s plan either violates all three of these aspects of the Iraqi legal framework or it has no meaning it all.

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