I’m surprised at the fervour, particularly from the American left, with which the 2003 Biden-Gelb plan for Iraq’s “soft-partitioning” is being attacked. Reading recent blog posts you’d think Biden and Gelb concocted some mad-cap scheme that had no relation to reality. In fact, the plan — envisioning separate enclaves for the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shia — not only makes sense but may end up being a blueprint for Iraq’s future regardless of what the U.S. and Maliki want. At the very least it would warrant a more serious discussion.
In case you’ve forgotten what the plan was all about and how it was received, here are some useful links:
“The Three-State Solution” — the original NYT op-ed by Leslie Gelb
“Biden: Ahead of His Time?” — George Packer’s take on the plan
“The Case for Soft Partition in Iraq” — a Brookings analysis paper by Edward Joseph