Ollivant in AJAM: Iraq will continue to need a strong central government

January 17, 2015

Soft partition, strong federalism, devolution of power — these are all terms bandied about when it comes to the future of Iraq. Formal partition has never been a serious option, at least not among those who hope for a reduction of rather than an increase in bloodshed. The intermingling of Shia and Sunni, Arab and Kurdish communities in Baghdad, Kirkuk and elsewhere (notwithstanding wartime ethnic cleansing) serves to rule out partition as a viable policy. However, a new version of Vice President Joseph Biden’s old plan for partition has emerged as the conventional wisdom du jour. For proof of this, look no further than New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who is now promoting such a plan, particularly for Iraq’s Sunnis.

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