Sunday, September 24, 2006

Iraqi parliament agrees to debate federalism bill; Peace on a silver platter

"Iraq's fractious ethnic and religious parliamentary groups agreed Sunday to open debate on a contentious Shiite-proposed draft legislation that will allow the creation of federal regions in Iraq, politicians said." [1]

Hopefully, this bill will be posted somewhere so interested parties can look it over. A transcript of the debate would be nice, too.

I also wonder if the possibility that federalism could help stop the sectarian violence will be part of the debate. The real-life, Iraqi example of a relatively peaceful semi-autonomous region would be Iraqi Kurdistan. And just Kurds don't live in Kurdistan either. They have non-Kurdish minorities like Yazidis and Turkmen as well as Arab workers from the rest of Iraq who live in Kurdistan [2] and they seem to do all right. At least I haven't heard anything to the contrary. So Kurdistan is possibly not just an example of a relatively peaceful and prosperous semi-autonomous Iraqi region, but an Iraqi region where different ethnic and religious groups can live in relative peace with one another, albeit with one group predominating.

Another positive aspect of federalism is that it would be an Iraqi solution, not an American one. It would be based on the hard won successes of their fellow Iraqis in Iraqi Kurdistan. And under federalism, Iraq would still have a national government which handled things like the Iraqi Constitution, the military, foreign policy and the equitable distribution of Iraq's vast oil wealth.* But each region would handle things like regional security (which should but something of great interest to the Sunnis who have been dying by the thousands and who don't seem to have much faith in the current national police force). They would also derive the other benefits that come from having a semi-autonomous government that have made Kurdistan so relatively secure and successful. The Kurds could say what these benefits are much better than I could.

It's peace on a silver platter, at least in terms of the problem of sectarian violence. And it's one that those who say that they care so much about Iraq and the Iraqi people should seriously consider.

* If each region is not guarenteed their fair share of oil revenue, this would be a legitimate reason for opposing federalism, in my view.

[1] The Houston Chronicle. (Associated Press). Iraqi parties agree to federalism bill. September 24, 2006.
[2] Iraqi Kurdistan. Wikipedia.

related posting
More Iraqi perspectives on federalism plan. September 14, 2006.

posted: sunday, september 24, 2006, 11:53 AM ET
update: sunday, october 1, 2006, 1:38 PM ET


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