Three Strong Federal States Comprised of Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis Are Needed Now in Iraq with a Division of Oil Income – or a Bloody Civil War Is Unavoidable
Between 2007 and 2010, Iraq will descend into an even bloodier civil war and, following many more thousands dead and with more hatred and violence, will in the end disintegrate—that, in any case, is the prediction of a high-ranking insider in Iraqi politics given during a background discussion with the World Security Network Foundation on ways out of the crisis.
This reliable source—a friend of the Americans with significant influence and excellent direct political connections to the top leadership in Baghdad—pleads for a strong federal structure with a weaker central government in Baghdad, which would manage foreign relations and the coordination of security. All other political areas would be left to the federal states comprised of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds: "The maintenance of the artificial, forced union of these three large population groups is one of the decisive strategic mistakes of the U.S. and the West. Only that which belongs together grows together, and that which doesn’t belong together will separate.
Iraq is not a real state, but rather a random, opportunistic borderline drawn following WWI by the British colonial power, an artificial structure, which doesn't have the slightest chance of survival due to the tensions between the oppressed Shiites and Kurds and the Sunni minority.
The tension between these population groups is intensified unbearably through the forced union and unnatural pressing together. A solution involving federal states, autonomous to the greatest possible extent, would result in a dramatic decrease in the murder rate, would bring about stability, and avert an otherwise unavoidable civil war."
The National Security Council, the Department of Defense and the State Department which have advised President George Bush, out of fear of a strong Shiite state in the south, have hindered this division into three parts—a major strategic mistake which has to date fueled the civil war and hindered a peaceful solution. This mistaken U.S. policy, which is too easily supported by London, Berlin and the EU, is the primary obstacle to peace in Iraq.
The influential Iraqi politician calls for a proportional division of the income derived from the oil and gas reserves, according to the Iraqi population, so that approximately 55% would go to the largest group the Shiites, approximately 20% to the Sunnis, and another 25% to the Kurds. One problem of the Sunni minority is that they have lost the dominant position which they held under Saddam, and that there are almost no oil reserves in their area. They could participate long-term through a just distribution scheme of Iraq's most important commodity. All income from the sale of oil (2 mio bbl/day) and gas (1.5 billion cn m) should be processed through a neutral, foreign trust, for example, in corporation with the United Arab Emirates, Qatar or Switzerland, secured through an international oil and gas treaty.
A Shiite federal state would not lead to destabilization. On the contrary, the continued forcing together leads to a destabilization of all of Iraq and its neighbors, and results in a bloody civil war.
The Shiites of Iraq would be seen by Iran, which is the center of the Shiite faith, as Shiites of a second class; therefore, they would not ally themselves on a long-term basis with Tehran.
For more than a thousand years, the Shiites have been oppressed by the Sunnis—hence the deeply rooted and religiously motivated hatred and violence. Only through a separation of these population groups in specific regions—along with the simultaneous establishment of a Neutral Federal Zone of Baghdad (like the specially regulated District of Colombia for the U.S. capital Washington D.C.) in a state agreement of all three population groups—can these resentments slowly receded, and following a necessary phase of separation of perhaps five to ten years lead to a more partner-like cooperation—there is no other solution for Iraq.
The division of Iraq into three strong, autonomous federal states is not ideal, but it is the only realistic and historically necessary solution for peace.
All alternative concepts would fail just as the current concept of the Americans has failed.
The U.S. was and maybe still is too credulous and naïve in its approach to the restructuring of Iraq, and the responsible U.S. administrator Paul Bremer did not display the necessary intuition and tact with respect to the important clans.
Further, through his own personal and ambitious filter, he reported to the Pentagon and the White House with too much American perspective and wishful military thinking and not enough political acumen and too little Iraqi perspective, portraying an often inaccurate and overly positive image of the reality in Iraq to Washington's decision makers. As a result, President George Bush pursued the wrong path for too long. Above all, U.S. planning remained uncreative for too many years and pursued the maintenance of order through the cementing of artificial state borders and a strong central government in Baghdad, rather than considering the wills of the three different population groups. As a result, the majority of the population in Iraq, not only the 20% Sunnis but the 55% Shiites as well, now see the U.S. not as their liberator, but rather as a new oppressor, imposing its will upon them. Perpetual peace and stability can only be won in Iraq if these two large Arab population groups feel comfortable within the structure of the state.
In the long term, Iraq in its current form will cease to exist.
Either the U.S. initiates the process of separation now, or separation will be waiting at the end of an even bloodier, long-lasting new civil war in perhaps five to ten years.
With the available limited military resources, Washington will, in any event, no longer be able to force through its order of a united Iraq.
A good example and guide for this observation is the Kurdish area of Iraq. There, real peace exists. There has not been a suicide attack in a long time. In this autonomous region, the population is happy about the liberation by the Americans. There, after decades of brutal oppression, people live with more openness and contentment than before Saddam.
This path to real perpetual peace in Iraq must be followed by President George Bush establishing three autonomous Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish federal states now.