October 15, 2007

Soft Partition/Federalism etc.

Since I've been writing a lot on this topic, I thought it might be a good idea to collect the links in one place. I'll try to keep adding to this.

My AmSpec column on how the surge is paving for a soft partition the way by building up local institutions

A response to Jim Antle's skeptical take on the idea

Comments on the Biden amendment on the eve of its passage

My Brainwash column speculating that we'll soon be debating not whether to move in this direction, but rather how best to do it

A note that parliamentary pushback against devolution of their powers isn't too surprising

A response to reports of Iraqi opposition to partition, noting that the Iraqis don't seem to quite understand the plans being kicked around in Washington -- and that talk of such plans could conceivably scare politicians in Baghdad toward progress on national reconciliation.

Posted by John Tabin at October 15, 2007 10:14 AM | TrackBack

I read this column of yours while I was in Samarra, covering the 82nd Airborne's Charle Co. 2-505 PIR. While you have some information correct, there is a good bit that is misunderstood or oversimplified. The 'Surge,' and the situation in Iraq as a whole, is incredibly complex, and simply saying that "the surge is working" is far too simplistic, and ignores the fact that the products of the so-called 'surge' are both extremely localized and incredibly fragile. Further, they may be enduring, and they may not be; only time, obviously, will tell.

With regard to the "soft partition," the system which you somewhat describe -- local, city, county, and provincial governments, all carrying out their own business while technically subordinate to a national government which serves largely as a figurehead -- has been the U.S. policy and the U.S. goal in Iraq for more than a year now. The Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), the working with tribal councils and provincial governments by American soldiers and Marines, and the building up of regional infrastructure and holding of regional and provincial elections have all served to work toward this end, and it is an end which the U.S. has made no secret that it is seeking.

Governmental progress in Iraq is not currently stagnant; while the federal government remains deadlocked, local and provincial democratic governments are being established and developed to provide governance to the nation in the absence of effective leadership from Baghdad. However, the success of the administration's attempt at exporting successful, stable, pro-western democracy will ultimately lie at the feet of the federal government in Baghdad. If they cannot function, then the so-called "soft partition" will have to become a very firm partition, or else the entirety of Iraq could very well slide back into chaos.

Posted by: Jeff Emanuel at October 27, 2007 01:19 AM
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