Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Senate endorses a federal system in Iraq

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly endorsed the decentralization of Iraq into semi-autonomous regions, The Los Angeles Times reported today.

Sponsored by Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), the nonbinding measure, which supports a “federal system” that would divide Iraq into sectarian-dominated regions, won “unusually broad bipartisan support, passing 75 to 23,” according to the article.

“It attracted 26 Republicans, 47 Democrats and both independents,” The Times says.

Biden outlined his proposal a year and a half ago, but it was, according to the article, “dismissed by the Bush administration and many on Capitol Hill as an unworkable and irresponsible prescription for breaking apart Iraq.” However, “as the government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has stumbled in its efforts to unify the country’s warring religious and ethnic communities, the idea of a decentralized country divided among Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites has taken on new currency.”

The White House reaction was terse, stating that a change in policy was to be made by Iraqis. “The amendment recognizes that Iraqis will be the ones that make decisions about their political future,” National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in a statement. “It also reiterates the importance of bottom-up reconciliation.”

“It is possible that the present structure in Baghdad is incapable of national reconciliation because its elected constituents were elected on a sectarian basis,” said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), one of the measure’s cosponsors. “A wiser course would be to concentrate on the three principal regions.”

For full article, click here.

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