Finally, Some Good Sunni Federalism

But when Biden came to Iraq in August 2010, now as vice president of the United States and the special Iraq envoy of President Barack Obama, he had a different message to sell. The backdrop for that visit was a national address on Iraq by Obama in which the term “federalism” did not occur. Biden echoed this new line in his own remarks on the ground in Iraq:

“Perhaps the most important development of all is that in the aftermath of a second national election, Iraqi leaders are sitting down to settle their differences through negotiation and not through violence. Another way of putting it -- as my staff always kids me for saying -- politics has broken out in Iraq. The fact that no single party or coalition got anywhere near a clear majority would make forming a government, a parliamentary system, difficult under any circumstances. A decade -- after a decade of dictatorship and war, it’s an even more daunting task here in Iraq. Unlike after the last election, however, a caretaker government is providing security and basic services and preventing a dangerous power vacuum from erupting.”

A more specific account of US policy priorities was presented by Biden before the UN Security Council in December 2010:

“Since President Obama asked me to oversee our administration’s Iraqi policy when we took office, let me assure you that the United States will continue to work with the Iraqi leaders on the important tasks that lie ahead, conducting the census, integrating Kurdish forces into Iraqi security forces, keeping commitments to the Sons of Iraq, resolving disputed internal boundaries in the future of Kirkuk, passing critical hydrocarbon legislation and a fiscally responsible budget, and helping to stabilize its economy.”

Again, no mention of “federalism”.

Comments are closed.