'Biden Plan' for Iraq out of touch

July 7, 2009 at 5:40 PM

OSLO, Norway, July 7 (UPI) -- The notion that Iraqi problems lie simply in the divisions between the three dominant ethnic communities shows U.S. perceptions remain stagnant, analysts say.

U.S. President Barack Obama has appointed his vice president, Joe Biden, as the tacit special envoy for national reconciliation in Iraq as the U.S. effort there transitions from a military conflict to one of reconstruction.

Biden in April said one of the key challenges remaining for Iraq was resolving issues between the Sunni, Shiites and Kurds.

In his weekend visit to Baghdad in the wake of the U.S. combat drawdown, Biden again pointed to the American goal of re-establishing "contact with each of the leaders among the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites."

Biden, long an advocate of a federalized solution, is now pushing for a "non-territorial variant" of the misplaced notion that Iraqi problems lie in the fundamental differences between the various ethnic groups, notes Reidar Visser on his Iraqi analytical Web site, historiae.org.

Visser complains that this logic was long abandoned by the Iraq people, as evidenced by their move away from sectarian trends in the January provincial elections and by a push for a more representative political climate that welcomes Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds under previously exclusive alliances.

"On this subject there is simply a total breakdown of communication between Iraqis and Americans," he notes.

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