News Release

Behind the Biden Amendment

Last week, the Senate voted 75­23 for the Biden amendment. Today, the Washington Post published a piece by Joseph Biden Jr. (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations in which they write “our plan is not partition…”

The following analysts are available for interviews:

REIDAR VISSER
Visser recently wrote the piece “The U.S. Senate Votes to Partition Iraq. Softly.

He is author of the book Basra, the Failed Gulf State: Separatism and Nationalism in Southern Iraq and editor of the website historiae.org, which covers contemporary Iraqi politics. Visser is a research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.

DAHLIA WASFI, M.D.
Born in Iraq (her mother’s family is Jewish and fled Austria during the rise of Hitler, her father’s family is Iraqi) with a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Wasfi spent three months in Iraq in 2006. She has been speaking with Global Exchange and other groups. She said today: “Dividing Iraq — and the rest of the Middle East — into smaller (i.e. weaker) states has been a strategy goal by Zionists for some time. For example, see Israel Shahak’s report.
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ERIC DAVIS
Political science professor at Rutgers University, Davis is author of several books including Memories of State: Politics, History and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq.

Davis said today: “The U.S. Senate passage of the Biden Resolution on Sept. 27 was both ill-advised and unnecessary. First, Iraqis see the resolution as a step towards partition of their country, Biden’s disavowals notwithstanding. A BBC-ABC poll in March found that 94 percent of Iraqis said they don’t want Iraq to be divided according to sectarian criteria. Second, Iraqis already have a constitution that enshrines the concept of federalism. Thus the resolution is unnecessary.

“Third, the proposal would further weaken Iraq’s central government by devolving more power to the provinces, thereby impeding Iraqi efforts at reconstruction and political reconciliation. A weak central government would be even less capable of suppressing political violence, such as that which is occurring around Iraq’s port city of Basra as different Shiite militias struggle for control of the south’s oil wealth. Fourth, 25 percent of the Iraqi population is intermarried and virtually all parts of the country are ethnically heterogeneous. It would be logistically impossible to create ethnically homogeneous enclaves within Iraq. Indeed, most analysts feel that any such efforts to create such enclaves would lead to more, not less violence in Iraq.”

“Finally, the Iraqi and Arab world’s reaction to the Biden Resolution has been overwhelmingly negative. Even Iraq’s Kurdish leaders have stated that they support federalism, but not partition. This resolution has reinforced public opinion in Iraq and the larger
Middle East that the United States used the invasion of Iraq as a pretext to control Iraq’s vast oil wealth. Iraqi newspapers such al-Sabah, al-Mada, al-Zaman (which has an English section), and many other Iraqi and Arab newspapers have all condemned the resolution as an unwarranted interference in Iraqi internal affairs. What the Biden Resolution has accomplished is to reinforce the perception throughout the Middle East that the U.S. is following the traditional colonial strategy of divide and conquer.”
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VERA BEAUDIN SAEEDPOUR
Editor of Kurdish Life and founder of the Kurdish Library in New York City, Saeedpour is available for a limited number of in-depth interviews. She said today: “The Biden plan is essentially a replica of the [first] Bush administration plan to internally divide Iraq, with one exception. Back in 1990 when the plan first surfaced, the configuration looked like this: Kurds were to get the north. The quid pro quo: they were to support the Turkish military against the PKK and forego any claim to Kirkuk. The Kurds agreed to both. Turkey’s then Prime Minister Turgut Ozal was assured that Iraqi Turkmen would get Kirkuk. He acquiesced to Kurdish autonomy because he was persuaded that without Kirkuk the Iraqi Kurds could not establish a separate nation.

“After the first Gulf war, Israel established its first outpost in the Middle East in Iraqi Kurdistan and in 1993 Ozal died. The partition plan was revised. Now Kirkuk would go to the Kurds; Arabs would be divided along sectarian lines. Under the noses of the mainstream media, the administration has been on track, generating facts on the ground, not least the Iraqi constitution, to assure partition masked as ‘federation.’ Kurdish Life has been following this polluted estuary for over past 16 years. And still the pundits and the politicians keep insisting that Washington has ‘no plan?’ Balderdash.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.