Splitting Up Iraq
By Mike Whitney
“Iraq’s fate was sealed from the moment we invaded: it has no future as a unitary state … Iraq is fated to split apart into at least three separate states…This was the War Party’s real if unexpressed goal from the very beginning: the atomization of Iraq, and indeed the entire Middle East. Their goal, in short, was chaos – and that is precisely what we are seeing today.”
— Justin Raimondo, editor Antiwar.com
May 09, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Counterpunch" - A bill that could divide Iraq into three separate entities has passed the US House Armed Services Committee by a vote of 60 to 2. The controversial draft bill will now be debated in the US House of Representatives where it will be voted on sometime in late May. If approved, President Barack Obama will be free to sidestep Iraq’s central government in Baghdad and provide arms and assistance directly to Sunnis and the Kurds that are fighting ISIS. This, in turn, will lead to the de facto partitioning of the battered country into three parts; Kurdistan, Shiastan, and Sunnistan.
The plan to break up Iraq has a long history dating back to Oded Yinon’s darkly prophetic 1982 article titled “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”. Yinon believed that Israel’s survival required that the Jewish state become a imperial regional power that “must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states … The Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation.” (The Zionist Plan for the Middle East, Israel Shahak)
The GOP-led House Armed Services Committee’s bill embraces Yinon’s vision of a fragmented Iraq. (Note: Under the current bill, which is part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as much as 60% of the proposed funds, or $429m, would flow directly to the “Kurdish Peshmerga, the Sunni tribal security forces with a national security mission, and the Iraqi Sunni National Guard”.) Providing weapons to Sunni militias and the Kurdish Peshmerga will inevitably lead to the disintegration of the country, the ramping up of sectarian hostilities, and the strengthening of extremist groups operating in the region. It’s a prescription for disaster. Here’s a brief excerpt from Yinon’s piece on Iraq:
“Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel … Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.” ( “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”, Oded Yinon)
The fact that US and Israeli strategic objectives match up so closely calls into question the ISIS invasion of Iraq in 2014 when a two mile-long column of white land rovers loaded with 15,000 jihadis barreled across the open desert from Syria spewing clouds of dust into the atmosphere without being detected by US AWACs or state-of-the-art spy satellites. The logical explanation for this so called “intelligence failure” is that it was not a failure at all, but that Washington wanted the operation to go forward as it coincided with US-Israeli strategic aims. As it happens, the areas now controlled by the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shia are very close to those projected by Yinon suggesting that the ISIS invasion was part of a broader plan from the very beginning. That’s not to say that ISIS leaders take orders directly from Langley or the Pentagon. No. It merely implies that Washington uses the marauding horde for their own purposes. In this case, ISIS provides the pretext for arming the Sunnis and Kurds, imposing new borders within the existing state, creating easier access to vital resources, and eliminating a potential rival to US-Israel regional hegemony. The US needs an enemy to justify its constant meddling. ISIS provides that justification. Check this out from the Daily Star:
“The present ISIS lightning war in Iraq is the creation of an illusion to initiate the fulfillment of a pre-planned agenda of the West in close alliance with Israel to redraw the map of the entire region as the “New Middle East…..The chaos, destruction and devastation caused by the ISIS in its process of establishing the Sunni Islamic Caliphate in Iraqi and Syrian territories is the realisation of the intended policy of the US and the West to change public perception that the “War on Terror” was never a war waged by the West against Islam but a “war within Islam” along religious, ethnic and sectarian lines in the Islamic world…
The division of Iraq into three separate entities had also been strongly advocated by US Vice-President Joe Biden. Biden’s heritage and an analysis of his electoral constituents will help understand better his support for the fragmentation of Iraq under the Yinon Plan.” (The Yinon Plan and the role of ISIS, The Daily Star)
The Biden-Gelb plan, which was proposed in an op-ed in the New York Times in May 2006, called for the establishment of “three largely autonomous regions” with Baghdad becoming a “federal zone.” In other words, the powers of the Iraqi central government would be greatly reduced. The authors tried to soft-peddle their radical scheme as “decentralization” which is a milder term than the more accurate “partition”. The authors, both of who are members of the powerful Council on Foreign Relations, obscure the real aims of the plan which is to weaken the country through dismemberment and to leave it in “a permanent state of colonial dependency.” (Chomsky)
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has denounced the proposed bill as an attempt to undermine his authority and rip the country apart. In a recent phone conversation with Vice President Biden, Abadi expressed his opposition to the bill insisting that “only the Iraqi people can decide the future of their country.”
Also, according to Press TV, Iraqi cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, warned that if congress passed the bill, he would order his Mahdi Army to resume hostilities against the US targets in Iraq.
“We are obliged to lift the freeze on our military wing … and begin hitting US interests in Iraq and outside it,” said Sadr, who once led the powerful Mahdi Army and still enjoys huge influence among the Shia population.
Although Obama doesn’t approve of the new bill’s wording, his opposition is far from convincing. Here’s what State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said on the matter at a recent briefing: “The policy of this Administration is clear and consistent in support of a unified Iraq. We’ve always said a unified Iraq is stronger, and it’s important to the stability of the region as well.”
“Clear and consistent”? When has US policy in the Middle East ever been clear and consistent? Is it clear and consistent in Libya, Syria, or Yemen where jihadi militias are armed and supported either directly or indirectly by Washington or its allies? Is US policy clear and consistent in Ukraine where far-right neo-Nazi extremists are trained and given logistical support by the US to fight a proxy war against Russia?
Sure, Obama wants to make it look like he opposes the bill, but how much of that is just public relations? In truth, the administration is on the same page as the Congress, they just want to be more discreet about it. Here’s Harf again: “We look forward to working with Congress on language that we could support on this important issue.”
Indeed, the administration wants to tweak the wording for the sake of diplomacy, but that’s the extent of their opposition. In fact, the House Armed Services Committee has already complied with this request and removed the offending clause from the bill (asking for recognition of the Peshmerga and Sunni tribal militias as “countries”) while, at the same time, “maintaining that some of the military aid should go directly to the two forces fighting ISIS….”
So they deleted a couple words from the text but meaning remains the same. Also, according to Huffington Post:
“Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said Sunday he wants to identify “a way to streamline the process of getting the weapons to both the Sunni tribes and the [Kurds] … while at the same time not undermining the government of Iraq in Baghdad.”
There’s no way to “streamline the process” because the two things are mutually exclusive, Abadi has already said so. If Obama gives weapons to the Sunnis and the Kurds, the country is going to split up. It’s that simple.
So how has Obama responded to these latest developments?
Last week he met with Kurdish president Masoud Barzani in Washington. Here’s what happened:
“Asked by Kurdish outlet Rudaw whether he had secured any commitments on a change to the policy from President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden when he met with them Tuesday, Barzani responded, “Both the vice president and the president want the peshmerga to get the right weapons and ammunition. … The important point here is that the peshmerga get weapons. How they will come, in which way, that’s not as important as the fact that peshmerga need weapons to be in their hands.” (Kurdish Leader Aligns With White House Over Congress On ISIS Strategy, Huffington Post)
So Obama basically told Barzani he’d get the weapons he wanted. (wink, wink)
Can you see what a sham this is? Iraq’s fate is sealed. As soon as Congress approves the new defense bill, Obama’s going to start rushing weapons off to his new buddies in the Kurdish north and the so called Sunni triangle. That’s going to trigger another vicious wave of sectarian bloodletting that will rip the country to shreds.
And that’s the goal, isn’t it: To split the country into three parts, to improve access to vital resources, and to eliminate a potential rival to US-Israel regional hegemony?
You know it is.
Listen to a two-part conversation with Mike Whitney on the debut episode of CounterPunch Radio.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.