Babylonian Society

September 27, 2007

In al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper (Issue no. 10530 – September 27, 2007), Dr. Adil Abdul Mahdi, the Shiite VP of Iraq said that the American proposal to partition Iraq might lead to embracing federalism and the birth of federal regions united by a federal goverment. He used the United Arab Emirates as an example.

The Iraqi VP mentioned that the federal system was in effect during the relatively claim Ottoman era which makes federalism an attractive choice for many Iraqis and Americans. Senator Sam Brownback did use the Ottoman map of Iraq while presenting the Biden-Brownback-Boxer amendment on the floor of the Senate last Monday.

The French-educated Iraqi VP said: “Today, we examine visions and interpretations to select the best federal system for Iraq and one of those visions is the federalism in UAE.”

With the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly backing Senator Joseph Biden’s bipartisan plan to endorse federalism in Iraq, the chances of moving forward with this approach to deal with the Iraq conflict are getting bigger. However, the ball is in the White House court now.

In September 11, 2007, Ambassador Ryan Crocker said in his testimony to Congress “There is a budding debate about federalism among Iraq’s leaders and importantly within the Sunni community. Those living in places like Anbar and Salahuddin are beginning to realize how localities, having more of a say in daily decision-making will empower their communities. No longer is an all-powerful Baghdad seen as the panacea to Iraq’s problems.” Yet, no real measures to support federalism in Iraq are taken by the U.S. government

Posted in Iraq, News |

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Middle East News
US Senate calls for Iraq’s partition

Sep 26, 2007, 18:54 GMT

Washington – US lawmakers voted Wednesday to split Iraq into a loose federation of sectarian-based regions and urged President George W Bush to press Iraqi leaders to agree.

More than 20 Republicans joined Democrats to pass the non-binding measure in the Senate, 75-23, showing frustration in both parties about Bush’s war policy and lagging national reconciliation in Iraq.

Supporters of Iraqi partition believe it would let Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions settle their differences and make it easier for US troops eventually to return home.

But the measure, attached to the 2008 defence budget, runs against US administration policy to keep Iraq united and would likely face a veto if it reached Bush’s desk.

The proposal to breaking up Iraq into decentralized regions came from Senator Joseph Biden, who heads the chamber’s foreign relations committee and is running for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Biden has long championed the federal plan, saying it would give Iraq’s main groups ‘breathing room in their own regions’ and speed up a US troop withdrawal.

But partition would raise concern in neighbouring Turkey, which is fighting a Kurdish separatist movement and would be wary of broader autonomy for Iraqi Kurds across the border.

Sunni-led Saudi Arabia would likely fear a further rise in Iranian influence over Iraq if Iraqi Shiites controlled their own mini-state.

A key Republican supporter and presidential candidate, Senator Sam Brownback, has urged Bush to send a high-level envoy to Iraq ‘to get these people in a room to cut the deal to get different states, where you have the power mostly residing in the states.’

Biden’s amendment calls for the US government to work for a ‘political settlement based on the creation of federal regions within a united Iraq.’

© 2007 dpa – Deutsche Presse-Agentur

September 26th, 2007 by babylonians

CQ TODAY MIDDAY UPDATE
Sept. 26, 2007 – 1:56 p.m.

The Senate adopted a pair of nonbinding amendments Wednesday recommending a partition of Iraq and declaring that U.S. policy is to “combat, contain and roll back” Iran and its surrogates in Iraq.

Adoption of the measures came as senators sought to wrap up debate over Iraq and get to the heart of the fiscal 2008 Defense authorization bill (HR 1585).

By 75-23, senators adopted a “sense of the Senate” amendment by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman
Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., calling for Iraq to be divided into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish “federal regions,” with a weak national government to facilitate sharing of oil revenue.

A second “sense of the Senate” amendment declaring it U.S. policy to “combat, contain and roll back” Iran and its surrogates in Iraq was adopted 76-22.

That proposal, by Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona and Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also would express the Senate’s view that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps should be designated a terrorist organization, a move the Bush administration is now considering.

Lawmakers debated the Iran amendment amid a controversial visit to New York this week by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend the U.N. General Assembly session. The House on Tuesday passed a measure (HR 1400) to tighten sanctions on Iran.

Critics of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, namely
Jim Webb, D-Va., worried that designating part of Iran’s government a terrorist group represented a de facto declaration of war on Iran.

Source: CQ.com

Posted in Iraq, News | No Comments »

Biden-Brow

EVEN THE GENERALS SAY SO. There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come.

Majority Leader Harry Reid +

Senators:

John Kerry (D-MA),
Bill Nelson (D-FL),
Chuck Shumer (D-NY),
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD),
Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-AR)
and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Arlen Specter (R-PA),
Gordon Smith (R-OR),
Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX)

LEADER REID HAS SCHEDULED A VOTE

From the Babylonians site

At a July town hall meeting in Iowa, Obama said Biden’s brainchild might “end up being the best solution.” Another Democratic candidate, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, also has suggested he might favor the idea.
An Obama aide said the senator is leaning toward supporting the measure.
Obama reiterated his potential support at a debate last month but worried that it would be viewed as a U.S.-imposed process

HILLARY, OBAMA, GUILLIANI, THOMPSON HESITATE AT THEIR OWN PERIL.

The train is about to leave the station. The US Senate votes tomorrow on a resolution .

NEITHER “STAY AND PRAY” OR “CUT AND RUN”

THE SENATE IS VOTING ON IT TUESDAY.

From the Babylonians site:

Republican Sen. Hutchison Backs Soft Partition of Iraq September 22, 2007

    Senator repeats support for separate regions for Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites

    By Todd J. Gillman / The Dallas Morning News

    12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, September 22, 2007

    WASHINGTON – Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison renewed her call Friday for carving Iraq into ethnic enclaves, saying that’s the best way to separate factions and the quickest route to relieving the need for U.S. troops.

    “It is so important that this end result be part of the debate,” she told reporters, pushing her support for a nonbinding resolution authored by Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.

    The resolution would put the Senate on record urging the Bush administration to prod Iraqis into creating at least three semi-autonomous regions, controlled by Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites.

    The recent status report from Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, showed that security is improving in Iraq and that the U.S. troop surge has led to a lessening of violence in some areas, she said.

    But, she added, “I don’t think you’re going to have political stability if you don’t have some economic progress,” and the best way to ensure that is to let each ethnic group govern itself as much as possible, while still supporting a central government.

    “The ethnic strife is going to hurt the capability to create that economic opportunity,” she said. “We could see a lessening of violence.”

    Ms. Hutchison has promoted partitioning for about a year. Critics have included James Baker, the former secretary of state who co-led the Iraq Study Group. Among the objections: multiethnic regions, notably in and around Baghdad, would be hard to carve up without disrupting large populations, and because Iraq’s oil wealth is concentrated in the Kurdish north and Sunni south, it would be hard to win over Shiites until there’s a strong revenue-sharing law that so far has eluded Iraq’s lawmakers.

    The Senate is expected to vote on the resolution as early as Monday. Mr. Biden – a Democratic presidential contender and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – has been pushing the idea of a decentralized Iraqi government for more than a year, and he’s offered the plan as an amendment to a pending defense bill.

    A dozen senators have signed on, including Ms. Hutchison and three other Republicans.

    Said Mr. Biden, “Everyone agrees that there is no military solution in Iraq, only a political solution.”

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called it “an extremely critical amendment” this week, because it reflects the view that Iraq requires a diplomatic solution.

From The Babylonians site which is the “go to” place for the answer to the Iraq mess.

Biden Gets Vote On Iraq Plan September 22, 2007
By Shailagh Murray

September 21, 2007

All the ‘08 Democratic candidates have plans to end the Iraq war. But only Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. gets to bring his to a Senate vote.

The Foreign Relations Chairman’s proposal to create a federal Iraq with separate Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regions will be called up Tuesday as Amendment 2997 to the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill. It’s a non-binding resolution, so even if it does pass, it won’t force President Bush to do anything. But sources close to Biden describe the senator as positively giddy about the exposure.

Biden has pitched his Iraq political settlement for months, both on the Senate floor and on the campaign trail, and it has quietly collected an unusually diverse array of Senate co-sponsors, from conservatives Sam Brownback (Kan.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.) to liberals Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Barbara Mikulski (Md.). But Democratic leaders paid it little heed, preferring to keep the congressional debate focused on the U.S. military mission and bringing home troops.

Earlier this month, Biden walked into Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (Nev.) office for an Iraq planning meeting prepared to lobby that his proposal be added to the legislative mix when the war debate returned to the Senate floor. But Reid didn’t need much convincing; he liked Biden’s political focus, as viewed it as a way to broaden the debate. Earlier this week, Reid announced that the Biden amendment would be one of four Iraq measures that Democrats would offer to the defense bill.

Biden has missed 99 votes so far this year, nearly 29% of the total number held, but this week he skipped Iowa campaign appearances to stay in Washington, drumming up votes for the Biden plan.

Source: Washington Post