Dividing Iraq into three: A new (old) solution?
Source Ken Hanly
Date 06/10/08/22:39

It seems that this is a recipe to accelerate the
development of civil war..cheers, Ken Hanly

The Sunday Times October 08, 2006

America ponders cutting Iraq in three
Sarah Baxter, Washington

AN independent commission set up by Congress with the
approval of President George W Bush may recommend
carving up Iraq into three highly autonomous regions,
according to well informed sources.
The Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by James Baker, the
former US secretary of state, is preparing to report
after next month’s congressional elections amid signs
that sectarian violence and attacks on coalition
forces are spiralling out of control. The conflict is
claiming the lives of 100 civilians a day and bombings
have reached record levels.

The Baker commission has grown increasingly interested
in the idea of splitting the Shi’ite, Sunni and
Kurdish regions of Iraq as the only alternative to
what Baker calls “cutting and running” or “staying the

“The Kurds already effectively have their own area,”
said a source close to the group. “The federalisation
of Iraq is going to take place one way or another. The
challenge for the Iraqis is how to work that through.”

The commission is considered to represent a last
chance for fresh thinking on Iraq, where mass
kidnappings are increasing and even the police are
suspected of being responsible for a growing number of

Baker, 76, an old Bush family friend who was secretary
of state during the first Gulf war in 1991, said last
week that he met the president frequently to discuss
“policy and personnel”.

His group will not advise “partition”, but is believed
to favour a division of the country that will devolve
power and security to the regions, leaving a skeletal
national government in Baghdad in charge of foreign
affairs, border protection and the distribution of oil

The Iraqi government will be encouraged to hold a
constitutional conference paving the way for greater
devolution. Iran and Syria will be urged to back a
regional settlement that could be brokered at an
international conference.

Baker, a leading exponent of shuttle diplomacy, has
already met representatives of the Syrian government
and is planning to see the Iranian ambassador to the
United Nations in New York. “My view is you don’t just
talk to your friends,” he said last week. “You need to
talk to your enemies in order to move forward
diplomatically towards peace.”

His group has yet to reach a final conclusion, but
there is a growing consensus that America can neither
pour more soldiers into Iraq nor suffer mounting
casualties without any sign of progress. It is thought
to support embedding more high-quality American
military advisers in the Iraqi security forces rather
than maintaining high troop levels in the country

Frustrated by the failure of a recent so-called
“battle of Baghdad” to stem violence in the capital,
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, said last
week that the unity government of Nouri al-Maliki, the
prime minister, had only two months left to get a
grip. Rumours abound that the much-admired ambassador
could depart by Christmas.

Khalilzad’s warning was reinforced by John Warner,
Republican chairman of the Senate armed services
committee, on his return from a visit to Baghdad. “In
two to three months’ time, if this thing hasn’t come
to fruition and this government (is not) able to
function, I think it’s a responsibility of our
government internally to determine: is there a change
of course we should take?” Warner said.

Bush and Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state,
have resisted the break-up of Iraq on the grounds that
it could lead to more violence, but are thought to be
reconsidering. “They have finally noticed that the
country is being partitioned by civil war and ethnic
cleansing is already a daily event,” said Leslie Gelb,
former president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Gelb is the co-author with Senator Joseph Biden, a
leading Democrat, of a plan to divide Iraq. “There was
almost no support for our idea until very recently,
when all the other ideas being advocated failed,” Gelb

In Baghdad last week Rice indicated that time was
running out for the Iraqi government to resolve the
division of oil wealth and changes to the

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