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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fund for Peace Urges Managed Partition to Avoid the Violent Disintegration of Iraq

In a report released today, The Fund for Peace (FfP) urges serious consideration of managed partition of Iraq as a viable option to avoid the continuing descent into violent disintegration of that county.

The report contends that better training of Iraqi troops and more robust regional diplomacy, as the Iraq Study Group recommended, will not work without a new political solution. Over the long haul, focusing on the security forces without having a more viable political arrangement that is responsive to the interests of the major groups will risk militarizing Iraqi society to the point where it will be even more difficult to promote stability after the departure of coalition forces.

The report is the sixth in a series. It documents the pattern of sustained deterioration in all sectors and the persistent trend toward chaotic fragmentation.

In its recommendations, the report argues that managed partition, based on a modified version of the European Union model, would be a feasible option. A new Union of Iraqi States would divide sovereignty among three states, affirming Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish self-determination. They would be joined in an integrated economy, with a single market, currency, customs union, and central bank. Each state would have its own constitution, government, security forces, and a seat in the United Nations.

Pauline Baker, president of The Fund for Peace and author of the report, says: "The Iraq Study Group's report offers excellent analysis. Unfortunately, it offers no long-term proposals for the future, no suggestions on an outcome that could stem the trend toward violent break-up of the country. If Iraq is going to fragment, then it is time to start thinking about a soft landing based on a new political dispensation that Iraqis can buy into."

The report suggests that half-way measures, such as propping up a weak and factionalized government, will not end the war. Once that is recognized, the prospect of a peaceful partition may become a more attractive option. The U.S. should be prepared to focus on such an outcome before it is too late to contain the forces of violent disintegration.

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