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October 28, 2007

Biden's Plan For Iraq

In August, Senator and Presidential Candidate Joe Biden wrote a Washington Post editorial titled, "A Plan To Hold Iraq Together." It describes a plan conceived with Les Gelb, the Council On Foreign Relations president emeritus, to "de-centralize" Iraq's government and give more power to regional, ethnically based municipalities. Under this new system, regional governments would be created for Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish populations. Baghdad would not be a part of any one region, and instead would act as a hub for the federal government, which would be in charge of common interests such as border security and distribution of oil wealth. (Biden calls oil "the glue that binds the country together.") In addition to changes in political structure, the plan also calls for a troop reduction, although Biden says that troops would still be necessary to "keep neighbors honest" and fight terrorists.


In September Biden's plan gained serious traction in the Senate, which passed a non-binding resolution supporting the plan with strong bipartisan support.


In the Mideast, Biden's plan has not been so popular. US Labor Against War recently publicized a communication they received from Hassan Juma’a Awad, president of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions/General Union of Oil Employees in Basra. Here is his letter:

I would like to convey to you the opinion of Union of Gas and Oil in Iraq on the latest statement  of the US Congress regarding the partitioning of Iraq.  The General Union of Oil and Gas denounces the statements from the US Congress that suggest the partitioning of Iraq into different parts. At the same time that we are denouncing such statements, we also reject this cowardly act that is aimed at the security and stability of our country, Iraq.  Such a statement on the part of the US Congress demonstrates clearly that US occupation forces have failed to control Iraq.

Iraq will be united in spite of what the US says.  We are calling on the Iraqi government and Iraqi Parliament to reject such statements that signify the US government's hatred and meanness toward the people of Iraq - the people who managed to confront all sorts of conspiracies and ill-fated schemes during the past period.

In neighboring Syria, President Bashar al-Assad warned that dividing Iraq, particularly the creation of a separate Kurdish state, could cause the region to “explode.” He called on nations in the region to support Iraq’s unity.

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