Over at Exit Strategies, the new paleocon foreign policy group blog, Jim notes The New Republic‘s endorsement of a soft partition in Iraq and comments:
I’d like to favor a soft partition myself… Yet I’m skeptical. TNR acknowledges the pitfalls: “Aside from the Kurds and one Shia party (the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council), none of the main Iraqi players have any interest in carving up the country. The status of Baghdad would pose a Jerusalem-like obstacle to any federal agreement, to say nothing of the details of oil-sharing and shared security. If the plan failed to thread any of these needles, it could inflame sectarian tensions rather than calm them.” If those are the obstacles in Iraq, the fact that soft partition could create a bipartisan consensus in Washington sounds rather less reassuring.
Such a plan would also require us to maintain large numbers of troops in Iraq for several more years, potentially increasing the risks that the conflict will spread to Iran and putting more American lives in danger. Certainly for it to be deemed preferable to withdrawal we would need a better indication that a soft partition can work — and can be facilitated by the United States — than the fact that we can get both Democrats and Republicans to support it.
A couple of points:
*Side note: I just noticed that in that I wrote “lemons-out-of-lemonade” in that column when I of course meant “lemons-into-lemonade.”
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