Opinion: Federalism a tough choice for Iraq

The Iraqi parliament has passed a new law that will lead to the creation of a Federal system according to Al Jazeera.

This is one of the quiet dilemmas that faces Iraqi policy makers, but it is a decision that could have serious repercussions.

It is well rehersed that Iraq has always been a fairly unitary state. The creation of a federal region region in the South is a demand of many Shia-based parties, as well as many of the Kurdish-based groups from the north.

The law will not come into effect for some years yet, but could have a huge political impact.

With a great deal of the country’s oil wealth based in the north and south, there is understandable concern from groups that are based in the middle of the country that the proceeds of that oil wealth should be distributed centrally, not by the regions.

Some people have argued that a federal state is the only solution, but it risks further enraging some of the Sunni based nationalist groups and, if the Kurdish region is given greater autonomy, it risks Turkish entry into the conflict.

Turkish armed forces have entered Iraqi Kurdish territory on a number of occasions. Their fear is that a highly autonomous or independent Kurdish region would provide a haven and inspiration for their own seperatist groups.

It just shows how bogged down the badly-planned occupation has become. One way or another there are great risks and conflicts that started and intensified long after the invasion took place. The fear is that whatever happens now, the estabishment of a stable, independent, democratic Iraq is as difficult now as it was three years ago.

One Response to Opinion: Federalism a tough choice for Iraq

  1. Benjamin says:

    Apparently some Americans are pushing for far greater federalism now, as a way of neutralising the Iraq issue for Republicans. James Baker, an old hand and trusted fixer for the Bush family, is behind this plan apparently.

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