Both liberal democratic Senator Joe Biden and the conservative National Review have recently published articles arguing that decentralized federalism is the way forward in Iraq, and the best policy for addressing that country's serious ethnic and religious conflicts. Hopefully, a broad consensus will emerge on this point in the United States and (more importantly) in Iraq itself.
I published a piece making a similar argument in a supplement to the Iraqi paper Al Sabah last year. The English language version is available here.
UPDATE: Many people, both in the US and in Iraq, confuse decentralized federalism with partition of the country into three separate states (Sunni, Shiite, Kurdish). In reality, federalism is an ALTERNATIVE to partition, not a synonym for it. Like partition, it has the advantage of enabling each of the three groups to avoid total domination by any of the others. Unlike partition, it avoids breaking up Iraq into three relatively weak nations that would be easy pickings for Iraq's rapacious neighbors. The other alternatives to partition are probably dictatorship or civil war. Despite the very serious attendant risks, I don't think that partition should be categorically ruled out for all time. But, at the very least, we and the Iraqis should try federalism first.
Related Posts (on one page):
- Iraqi Federalism II - Answering Three Common Objections:
- Decentralized Federalism in Iraq: