The Battle Between Territorial Integrity and Self Determination: An Examination of Hard Partition as a Possible Outcome of Iraq

Eric Oddo



I.          The Consequences of Invasion

            A.        Iraq, a Country on the Minds of the Global Community

            B.        The Cost of Invasion

II.        The Past Defines the Present: the Current Situation in Iraq

            A.        Formation of Iraq

            B.        Saddam Hussein’s Takeover and the Iran Iraq Conflict

            C.        First Gulf War

            D.        Second Gulf War

            E.         Current State of Iraq Post Saddam Hussein

III.       Three Different Peoples with Three Unique Identities: the History of Iraqi         Kurd, Sunni and Shia People

            A.        Modern History of Iraqi Kurds

            B.        Modern History of Iraqi Sunnis

            C.        Modern History of Iraqi Shia

IV.       Hard v. Soft: Two different theories of partition

            A.        Senator Joseph Biden and Les Gelb’s proposal

            B.        Peter Galbraith’s solution

V.        Separation and Consequences: Reasons Against Partition

VI.       The Benefits Outweigh the Burdens: Why Hard Partition is Best

A.        Soft Partition versus Hard Partition

            B.        Diversity as Basis for Nation Building

            C.        The Turkey Dilemma

            D.        The Kurdish Right to Self-Determination

1.         The Kurdish people fulfill all customary international law                          conditions justifying a nation state. 

                                    a.         The Kurdish people have a right to territorial                                                                     integrity

                                    b.         The Kurdish people have a right to self-                                                                              determination

                                                i.          United Nations stance on self-                                                                                              determination

                                                ii.         Jus cogens and the International Court of                                                               Justice

                                                iii.        Kosovo’s impact on self-determination

                                                iv.        Kurdish pleas for self-determination

                        2.         Without an independent nation state, the Kurds are destined to                            a life of discrimination and oppression


            F.         The Iraqi people do not support hard partition

            G.        Iraqi Diaspora

VII.     Hard Partition’s Possibility to Restore Order: Concluding Remarks


I. The Consequences of Invasion

            A. Iraq, a Country on the Minds of the Global Community

            The First and Second Gulf Wars in Iraq receive ample amounts of attention from Americans.  Since the beginning of the 1990s, American involvement in Iraq has been great.  Countless numbers of families have to cope with the loss of loved ones due to their participation in one of the wars.  While the First Gulf War received overwhelming international support, the Second Gulf War did not.  Many believe the reasons for this are that during the First Gulf War, Iraq, under the direction of Saddam Hussein, commanded his armies to attack and invade Kuwait, a neighboring sovereign nation.  In the Second Gulf War, President Bush and the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair preemptively struck Iraq because they feared that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction.  Despite several countries’ disapproval of their actions, Bush and Blair invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein and his Ba’ath party regime from power.  Lacking foresight into the chaos that would emerge in a post-Saddam Iraq, the United States and United Kingdom could not control the insurgency and sectarian violence brought on as a result of the invasion.

            Currently, Iraq is a nation with many problems. Because the United States decided to use hard power and military force to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, many Iraqis see it as a hostile and imperial presence ignorant of their culture and only acting on the basis of their national self interests. Instances of suicide bombings, insurgent attacks on American troops, excessive retaliation on the part of United States military and private security forces, and ethnic groups slaughtering other ethnic groups not only captivates the international media but everyday Americans.  Stories about the country permeate media outlets twenty four hours a day.

            Americans, political scholars, and several authors around the world have focused their attention on devising a solution to what is called the Iraq dilemma. The one thing that everyone can agree upon is the fact that the current situation is not working.  Additionally, many Americans want the United States troops to come home as soon as possible.  Innocent young Americans with bright futures are losing their lives serving their country.  In order to remedy this problem, a solution to stabilize Iraq must be found. One proposal to solve the problems in Iraq is to divide the country into three separate nation-states.  This proposal is called the hard partition of Iraq.

This paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of a hard partitioning proposal and concludes that it is the best solution to the Iraq crisis.  First, the paper presents an overall thesis, and moves on to provide an explanation of the current context.  Next, a discussion about the history of the three main ethnic groups in Iraq and a clarification between the two different theories of a “three state” solution to Iraq is given.  Finally, the paper presents a rationale for why a hard partition is the best of all possible solutions.  

            B. The Cost of Invasion

            The death of Iraqi citizens and American troops are major concerns for politicians but another factor driving attention towards finding a solution to Iraq is money.  To fund the war in Iraq, it costs the United States economy 200 million dollars a day.[i] American citizens are growing concerned over the cost of the war. Some estimates put the total cost of the Iraq war, assuming America withdraws in three years, at two trillion dollars.[ii]  Over the past couple of years emerging Asian markets and the unification of European currency weakened the dollar.  The United States is no longer the sole economic hegemony.  Not only did the attacks on September 11, 2001 devastate the economy on that day, but also caused the United States government to bite the cost of war and reconstruction in two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan.  The more everyday Americans feel the economic disadvantages of the war, the more pressure is placed on politicians. The financial burden on the United States government is expected to more than double previously estimated figures.[iii] This is the reason why what to do with Iraq has the media spotlight. The costs and the causalities make the topic a highly debated political issue and Americans are divided on what to do.

            II. The Past Defines the Present: the Current Situation in Iraq

            A. Formation of Iraq

            The region of Iraq began as an Islamic Caliphate.  [iv]Around the seventh century AD, Islam spread to what is now known as present day Iraq.[v]The Caliphate’s name was Umayyad Caliphate and ruled Iraq from Damascus.[vi] In the eighth century AD, the Abbasid Caliphate built the city of Baghdad for the purpose of having it as its capital.[vii]  Baghdad became a flourishing city and for five centuries was the leading metropolis of the Arab and Muslim world. [viii]During the Islamic Golden Age, Baghdad was a center of learning and had a population of over one million people. [ix]Baghdad’s cultural influence remained until the city was destroyed by the Mongol invasion in the thirteenth century.[x]

            During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Mongols set their sights on Iraq and other regions controlled as Islamic Caliphates. [xi]Hulagu Khan created a large army in 1257, for the purpose of conquering Baghdad. [xii]When the Mongols arrived in Baghdad, Khan demanded surrender, which the Caliph rejected. [xiii]Responding to this rejection, Kahn and his forces killed hundreds of thousands and ransacked the city. [xiv]1401, the city was ruled by the warlord Tamerlane. [xv]Tamerlane was of Turco-Mongol descent and believed that his people were entitled to control the region. [xvi]Tamerlane and his armies killed countless numbers of Iraqis. [xvii]At the conclusion of Tamerlane’s reign, the Persians took control of Baghdad and its surrounding areas.[xviii]

            Persian control of Baghdad lasted until 1535 when the Ottoman Turks took the city over. [xix]Throughout the seventeenth century, possession of Baghdad went back and forth between the Ottomans and Iranian Safavids. [xx]The Ottomans ruled Baghdad until the beginning of World War One.[xxi] The Ottomans’ alliance with Germany and the Central Powers ultimately led to their removal from power over the region. British forces were deployed in high numbers in the Middle East, and as the Ottomans became weak, their ability to maintain control over cities such as Baghdad was extremely limited. [xxii]When the Ottoman Empire dissolved, the Ottomans were driven from the Mesopotamian region.  It was estimated that the United Kingdom deployed over four hundred thousand troops in the area near the conclusion of the war,[xxiii]

The breakup of the Ottoman Empire after World War One resulted in the formation not only of Iraq, but also the state of Turkey, which continues to play an important part in the region’s politics. The Turkish Republic was founded in 1923 by Ataturk, a former general in the Ottoman army. During the 1920s and 1930s, supporters of Kemal, were mainly military men who “exposed to Western-style positivist education in Ottoman military academies.”[xxiv] These men wanted European culture to influence Turkish people.  Therefore they instituted top down reforms disposing of the caliphate, the Arabic alphabet, Islamic education and Sufi brotherhoods. The country’s official language and history were even reworked.[xxv]


            At the conclusion of World War One, France and the United Kingdom, divided the Middle East during the Sykes-Picot Agreement. [xxvi] The Treaty of Sevres which was ratified in the Treaty of Lausanne, created the foundation for the modern Middle East and Republic of Turkey. [xxvii] This was the closest the Kurds came to having a nation state because the Treaty outlined the boundaries of a Kurdish State. [xxviii] Nevertheless, The Treaty of Lausanne erased Kurdistan from proposed maps.[xxix] The League of Nations determined that France had authority over Syria and Lebanon while Britain had authority over Iraq and Palestine.[xxx] After receiving authority over the region, Britain merged Baghdad with the city of Basra in August 1921, creating a single country. [xxxi] Additionally, in 1926, the city of Mosul was added, forming the territorial boundaries of the modern Iraqi state.[xxxii] 

            Iraqi received independence was granted in 1932 under the leadership of King Faisal.  At this time, the Hashemite Monarchy had limited power. [xxxiii]In 1941, the United Kingdom invaded Iraq, based upon fears that a government post the Hashemite Monarchy would cut oil supplies to western nations. [xxxiv]After the invasion, British forces allowed the Hashemite Monarchy to be reinstated and its rule lasted until 1958.  The downfall of the Hashemite Monarchy was caused by the July 14th Revolution. [xxxv]Abdul Karim Qasim led the revolution and it was a success because an overwhelming majority of Iraqi people supported it. From 1958 till 1968, the country was in chaos. [xxxvi]Several different generals battled amongst each other for power and the international community did not intervene in the situation. The Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party  otherwise known as the Rebirth Party took control of the country in 1968, and by 1979, Saddam Hussein had complete power over Iraq.[xxxvii]  The reign of terror imposed by Hussein affected the country drastically and polarized the major ethnicities living in the country.

            B. Saddam Hussein’s Takeover and the Iran Iraq Conflict

            Saddam Hussein’s ability to take over Iraq occurred through the use of force and slaughtering of any political opponents he viewed as competition. [xxxviii]By 1979, Saddam controlled the Revolutionary Command Council and was the president of the nation. [xxxix]At the beginning of his regime, Hussein was confronted by a war with]one of their neighboring countries, Iran.  Western powers, including the United States, supported Iraq based upon their policy of dual containment. [1]Little did politicians know at the time that their support of Hussein would end up coming back to haunt them in the not so distant future.[xl]

            The conflict with Iran began due to territorial disputes and rivalries. The essay titled “The Iraq Crisis: An Overview”, authored by the Mid East web examines the motivations of Saddam Hussein to invade Iran and the impacts of the invasion.[2]  Most of the conflict between Iran and Iraq was over navigational rights and border disputes.  Specifically, at dispute, was the Shatt-El-Arab waterway which is Iraq’s only outlet to the sea.  Although a 1975 treaty following the Algiers Accord [3]claimed to settle the dispute, Iran did not return all the land to Iraq and thus the conflict continued. According to the Mid East web, “Saddam] invaded Iran in 1980, initiating an eight year war that cost about a million casualties. During the war, Saddam used chemical warfare against Iran as well as in suppressing internal revolts by the Kurds in the north.”[xli]  Furthermore, “the Iranians used gas warfare as well. Saddam's suppression of Kurds, known as the Anfal, began in 1987 and killed an estimated 182,000, destroying thousands of villages and creating about 400,000 refugees.”[xlii] The U.S. allowed Iraq to use chemical weapons against the Kurds because it did not want to risk isolating Iraq, a key ally in containing Iran. The conflict ended in a stalemate, with no real resolution coming out of it.

            C. First Gulf War

            After the conclusion of the Iran Iraq Conflict, Hussein and his forces remained determined to secure strategic access to the Persian Gulf.  The Iraqi leaders devised a solution, specifically, a pre-emptive strike against Kuwait, followed by its occupation. In 1990, Hussein and his forces occupied the country.  The United Nations imposed economic sanctions and the United States and United Kingdom declared no fly zones over Kurdish northern and Shia southern Iraq to protect these ethnicities.[xliii]  An international coalition of forces came to the defense of Kuwait by attacking Hussein and his forces.  The coalition was able to successfully remove Iraqi armies from Kuwait and force them to retreat into their homeland.  Although many politicians wanted the United States and the United Kingdom to follow the Iraqis back into Iraq, ultimately this was rejected and Hussein was allowed to retain his control of the country. Even though many people supported the protection of Kuwait, they did not support the economic sanctions.  It is estimated that over five hundred thousand Iraqi civilians died due to the economic sanctions and many critics argued that the sanctions were not affecting the decision makers in Iraq.[xliv]

             D. Second Gulf War

            After the First Gulf War, international leaders were extremely skeptical of the Hussein regime.[xlv]  Hussein’s reputation for aggression and willingness to use chemical and biological weapons was looked upon with disdain.[xlvi]  In an attempt to deal with the Iraqi situation, members of the United Nations Security Council passed United Nations resolution 687, which punished Hussein even further economically and demanded the dismantling of weapons of mass destruction.[xlvii]  Many countries were worried that an over aggressive Iraq with weapons of mass destruction would spell chaos for the world.  Despite the United Nations resolution, Hussein continued to develop weapons and defied international orders. [xlviii]

            Based on its belief that Iraq failed to abandon its weapons program, violating United Nations resolution 687 the United States with limited support from some of its allies invaded Iraq.[xlix]  United States officials argued that the failure of Iraq to comply with the resolution lifted the cease fire that was in place, and authorized the use of armed force. [l]Many countries around the world, including France and Germany, disagreed with the United States and opposed armed intervention. [li]Nevertheless, the United States along with the United Kingdom invaded the country and went to war.  The war did not last long , Hussein’s forces were easily overcome and the United States gave sovereignty back to Iraq on June 28, 2004.[lii]  Hussein went into hiding and was eventually found by United States troops. After the old regime in Iraq was toppled, the United States established the Coalition Provisional Authority to govern Iraq.[liii] On December 30, 2006, Saddam Hussein was hanged for his crimes against the Kurdish people during the 1980s. [liv]Even though the war was technically over and Saddam’s regime terminated, the problems emerging in the country only just begun.

            E. Current State of Iraq Post Saddam Hussein

            Even though many citizens of Iraq despised Saddam Hussein, the invasion led by the United States put the country into further turmoil.[lv]  Terrorist organizations took advantage of the situation, and convinced many Iraqis that they must engage in a war with western occupiers.[lvi] Not only did terrorist organizations outside of Iraq such as al-Qaeda promote the insurgency, but many believe Iraqi Sunnis were responsible for the movement as well.[lvii] Additionally, the lack of a legitimate central authority in the country created a power vacuum where Sunni and Shia peoples competed for control.[lviii]  The Sunni and Shia were also afraid of the growing possibility of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan in Northern Iraq, and began fighting with them to repress their desires for independence.[lix] Suicide bombers terrorized, and continue to terrorize the country daily, countless civilians are murdered and a large number of troops perish at the hands of the insurgents.[lx] Even though the United States is motivating the country to engage in democratic elections, these elections appear only symbolic and there is no evidence that they have caused any practical changes to the current situation.[lxi] The one thing that most scholars agree upon is that Iraq is a failed state.[lxii]  With no central authority leading the nation, and the United States’ desire to leave the country as soon as possible, the current state of Iraq is chaotic at best.

            There are positive signs in Iraq currently, and many believe that the situation is getting better. In his article titled, “Iraq: Positive Signs”,[4] George Friedman discusses these positive trends and points out issues that must be considered to determine what to do to solve the crisis.  Friedman writes, “the most startling point is the decline in casualties, and particularly the apparent decline in sectarian violence. Explaining this is difficult. It could simply be the result of the more efficient use of U.S. troops in suppressing the insurgency and controlling the Shiite militias.”[lxiii]  Therefore, even though less United States troops are dying, it does not mean that the current political framework of Iraq is the reason.  Instead of declaring victory in Iraq, the United States government needs to remain cautious. 

Friedman continues, “rather, it is the result of U.S. military operations coupled with a much more complex and sophisticated approach to Iraq. To be more precise, a series of political initiatives that the United States had undertaken over the past two years in fits and starts has been united into a single orchestrated effort.”[lxiv]  While these efforts are helping the situation, it does not mean that the status quo is the best option.  If anything, Friedman’s points illustrate the fact that the three ethnic groups are willing to do something for change.  Friedman notes, “the result of these efforts was a series of political decisions on the part of various Iraqi parties not only to reduce attacks against U.S. troops but also to bring the civil war under control.”[lxv]  Everyone involved in Iraq, understands the situation is dire. The current trends show that there is potential for productive change in Iraq but it does not mean that drastic changes are not needed.  Several problems still remain, and a solution is important to reduce the Iraqi civilians dieing, United States and coalition troop deaths and to lift Iraq out of the category of a failed state. The progress Friedman points to indicates that strong political initiatives by the United States can have success in Iraq. They also suggest that stronger steps may be necessary to insure that these successes are permanent.  Causality numbers in Iraq shift from month to month and it is difficult to determine the trend.  While the events Friedman discusses are positive signs, there is no guarantee those signs indicate the government of Iraq is succeeding.  

III. Three Different Peoples with Three Unique Identities: the History of Iraqi Kurd, Sunni and Shia People

            A. Modern History of Iraqi Kurds

            Kurdish peoples have fought against the Arabs since the Middle Ages.[lxvi] The Kurds live in an area spread out between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.[lxvii] They are nomadic people who practice Yazdanism, a group of monotheistic religions practiced among the Kurds. [lxviii]In the seventh century Arabs took control over the castles and fortifications of the Kurdish people.[lxix]  Throughout history, the Kurds continued to revolt against the Arabs but each time lost.  At the beginning of modern history, the Kurds were divided between dynasties including the Ardalan dynasty, established in the fourteenth century and existed until 1867.[lxx]  The Ardalan dynasty’s geographical region consisted of present day Khanaqin, Kirkuk and Sinne. [lxxi]The Kurdish people spread across multiple countries including Iraq, Syria and Iran.  In Iraq, they have historically been at odds with groups in power since the formation of the modern Iraqi state.  Led by Mustafa Barzani, Kurds engaged in heavy fighting in Iraq from 1960 to 1975.[lxxii]  Even though there were attempts at peace, the peace did not last long, and as ethnic Arabs the Ba’ath  began new offensives against the Kurds with the purpose of protecting the rich oil reserves in Northern Iraq.  From 1975 till 1978, over two hundred thousand Kurdish people were deported from their homelands and sent to other regions of Iraq.  This was known as the "Arabization" of Iraqi Kurdistan.[lxxiii]  As mentioned previously, during the Iran-Iraq War, the Kurds revolted against the central government. Under Saddam Hussein the Iraqi government punished the Kurds for their revolts and killed many.  The slaughtering of the Kurds culminated in the Al-Anfal campaign which translates into the spoils of war.  It is estimated that two thousand Kurdish villages were destroyed and between fifty to one hundred thousand Kurds killed by Hussein and his supporters.[lxxiv]

            In 1991, the Kurds attempted another revolt and for a short time succeeded.  After the revolt and subsequent independence, Iraqi troops recaptured the area forcing many Kurds to flee. During the First Persian Gulf War, the United States and United Kingdom established a “no-fly zone” in an attempt to prevent the atrocities that occurred in the 1980s from reoccurring.[lxxv] When United States forces invaded Iraq in 2003, many Kurds celebrated in the streets. Through the provisional government, the Kurds took control of Kirkuk and are on the verge of taking control over Mosul.  It is estimated that by the end of 2007, an actual defined Kurdish border will exist.[lxxvi]  Even though these signs are positive for the Kurdish people, they still desire complete independence.[lxxvii]  Additionally, there is no guarantee that after several years, the Sunni and Shia people of Iraq will comply with the newly determined border and pseudo-Kurdish independence.[lxxviii]  Kurdish people still face oppression in Iraq and are targets of suicide bombers and insurgents of Arab background who support al-Qaeda.[lxxix]

             B. Modern History of Iraqi Sunnis

            The Sunnis in Iraq used to control the government before the United States led invasion.  Sunni Arabs make up fifteen to twenty percent of Iraq’s population, but dominated the country’s government and economic positions throughout most of the twentieth century.[lxxx]  Most of the Sunni Iraqis live in urban areas like Baghdad and Mosul and comprise the Iraqi educated middle class. Furthermore, Sunni Iraqis reside in rural areas to the north and west of Baghdad which is known by the United States forces as The Sunni Triangle.[lxxxi]  The reason why this area is known to United States troops is because of the extreme resistance they face daily by their presence.

            Because Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, Sunni participation and influence in the Iraqi government grew greatly once he became in power. When Saddam Hussein came to power, because he was a Sunni, their political weight in the country greatly increased.  The Arab Socialist Ba’ath party consisted of Sunni Arabs who throughout Islamic history are at odds with Shia Arabs.  Hussein and his allies did not take the interests of the Shia Iraqis into consideration when making decisions and many were killed or persecuted if they attempted to stand up to the Ba’ath Party regime.  When Hussein’s reign ended, many Sunnis were skeptical of their future within a new Iraq.  Despite this concern, not all Sunni Iraqis are against the U.S. led occupation.  Susan Otterman in her essay titled, “Iraq: The Sunnis” [5]writes, “Their apprehension about the future, coupled with their reported anger at the presence and tactics of U.S. forces, creates sympathy for the minority fighting the occupation, many experts say.”[lxxxii]  Because of their relatively high social status compared to Kurd and Shia Iraqis when the Ba’ath party was in control, it is only natural that the Sunni Iraqis are currently skeptical.  Their skepticism has caused some Sunnis to become insurgents and engage in sectarian violence, suicide bombings and sneak attacks on United States forces.  Others though, “cooperate with the U.S.-led occupation, joining coalition-sponsored police forces and the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council. Many more--even some of those fighting the coalition--do not support the return of Saddam, according to press reports.”[lxxxiii]  Thus, it is evident that the Sunni, Kurd and Shia dynamic is much more complicated than the extreme dichotomy that the international media portrays.  According to Otterman, “harnessing the support of those Sunnis unwilling to take up arms against the occupation should be a key aim of the occupiers.”[lxxxiv]  In order to gain this support, the occupiers will need to guarantee security, economic resources and adequate political participation to the Sunnis. 

            Similar to other countries that have Sunni and Shia peoples, the Sunni and Shia in Iraq are split because of an ancient disagreement amongst Muslims as to who was qualified to lead the Muslim people.  While Sunnis believe leaders are chosen through an agreement amongst all Muslims, Shias believes that leaders must be true descendants of the prophet Mohammed.[lxxxv]  Additionally, Sunnis strongly believe in fate and that humans are predestined to complete certain actions.  Shias on the other hand believe in human choice and free will. Finally, Sunnis have a strict interpretation of Islamic law and follow rules established up to the tenth century.  Shias believe religious leaders that are qualified have the ability to interpret Islamic Law within reason so long as they believe it makes sense and is in the interest of Islam.[lxxxvi]

            Throughout history, Sunnis have served in positions such as army officers, bureaucrats and teachers. When the Ottomans controlled Iraq, they based their beliefs upon Sunni ideologies and thus modern day Iraqi Sunnis are their descendents. Once Iraq gained their independence, Sunnis were the first to lead revolutions against the British occupation and were strong nationalists.[lxxxvii]  The strong desire for an independent Iraq was the reason that the Ba’ath Party was established in the first place.  When the Ba’ath Party gained control of Iraq, many Sunnis were members of the elite military brigade known as the Republican Guard.  Therefore, it is clear that the Sunni Iraqis have a unique presence and relationship with Iraq.  Even though they were outnumbered by Shia Iraqis and have a relative population similar to Iraqi Kurds, they had the ability to control the nation.  Their removal from power and skepticism of the United States occupation places them in a unique position.  On one hand, they want to promote a productive Iraqi state; on the other hand, they realize that a representative democracy significantly limits their power within Iraqi central government.  Providing the Sunni Iraqis with a country to call their own may go a long way in alleviating their skepticism.

            C. Modern History of Iraqi Shia

            As the largest population of people living in Iraq, the Shia has a great impact on any possible outcomes of the country.  The Shia people constitute sixty percent of the population of Iraq, and their population is centered mostly in the south of Iraq up to Baghdad.  Even though the Shia make up the majority of the Iraqi population, Paul Sullivan explains in “Who are the Shia” that, “the Shia were discriminated against and brutalized during the entire time of the Ba'ath regime. Even during the time of the British rule they were not represented politically in the numbers warranted by their population.”[lxxxviii]  Their lack of participation in previous Iraqi regimes creates a strong desire for the Shia Iraqis to use their population to their advantage currently.  The Shia Iraqis have a strong distrust of any people who are in control of Iraq.  Whether it is the Sunni Ba’ath Party, The Sunni Ottoman, or British, throughout modern history the Shia received the short end of the stick. 

            During Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Shia were subject to genocide much like the Iraqi Kurds.  Hundreds of thousands of Shia people were deported on the basis that they were anti-Arab.[lxxxix]  This was evident during the First Persian Gulf War, when an uprising occurred in 1991.  Iraqi tanks were seen invading Shia cities and carried flags saying “No more Shia after today.”  Under the Ba’ath party, Shia culture was looked down upon and they were not allowed to practice traditional Shia rituals.  Sullivan continues, “The nationality law and the Ba'athi constitution in Iraq directly target Shia for mistreatment.”[xc]  Several experts believe that the reason the Ba’ath party was extremely anti-Shia was due to the fact that the Shia outnumbered the Sunni in Iraq significantly.  Sullivan concludes, “Although there are some provisions in this constitution to allow for some religious freedom the Shia have been severely constrained from practicing their religion, especially when it comes to the pilgrimages to the holy sites in Kerbala, Najaf and elsewhere in Iraq. Saddam Hussein banned most Shia festivals and commemorations.[xci]  The limitations upon Shia peoples during Ba’ath party control of Iraq furthered the divide between Sunni and Shia Iraqis.

            In order for productive change to occur in Iraq, Shia involvement is a must.  While Shia sees the formation of a representative democracy in Iraq to their advantage due to their population, like many Muslims, they are still skeptical of that form of governance.  Furthermore, because Western powers in the past have excluded the Shia from proper political participation, they too, like the Sunnis, are skeptical of the current Iraqi government. Understanding the history of misrepresentation and oppression of Shia Iraqis at the hands of occupiers, and Sunnis, helps to explain why some Shia people support the insurgents and sectarian violence.  Additionally, the close relationship the Shia Iraqis have with the Iranian Shias is another reason why some of them are reluctant to cooperate with the western occupiers.[xcii]  Iranian and Iraqi Shia political leaders are closely connected and both want to ensure that whatever happens in Iraq is in both of their respective interests.  Finding a solution that appeases the Shia population in Iraq is one of the key issues to solving the current Iraq crisis. [xciii]

IV. Hard v. Soft: Two different theories of partition

            A. Senator Joseph Biden and Les Gelb’s proposal

            In response to the political turmoil the Iraq situation has caused, Senator Joseph Biden along with Les Gelb created a plan which advocated the soft partition of Iraq.  Even though the Kurds, Sunni and Shia peoples are granted independent states, those three states are unified under a single federal government.[xciv]  The central government has authority over border defense, foreign policy, oil production, and revenues while the regional governments are primarily responsible for administrative duties.  Biden argues, “The United States shouldn’t impose this solution and we don’t have to because federalism is already written into Iraq’s constitution. In fact, the constitution creates a limited central government and establishes a procedure for provinces combining into regions.”[xcv] Additionally, Biden advocates giving the Iraqi Sunni shares of oil revenue in order to guarantee their participation in the central government. The central government controls decisions regarding national oil policy and every action taken would ideally consider the best interests of each respective ethnicity.  

            Another part of Biden and Gelb’s proposal is to increase aid, but condition the increase on the protection of minority and women’s rights.  Iraq has not had a good track record in so far as human rights and preserving human rights is an essential cornerstone of a productive representative democracy.  Biden believes, “But all future U.S. aid would be tied to the protection of minority and women’s rights, clearly and unambiguously. We should insist other donors set the same standard. Aid would be cut off in the face of a pattern of violations.”[xcvi]  Key elements of this section of Biden’s plan are strong statements by the United States President, stating that Iraqi government must do whatever it can to prevent oppression of minorities and women within its boundaries. Furthermore, the neighbors of Iraq must constructively engage in this proposal.  Each of these countries has the opportunity to state their opinion as to what constitutes the boundary of Iraq and what constitutes the boundaries of the independent states.  Gelb and Biden believe that engagement of Iraq’s neighbors into a soft partition path will go along way toward increasing the legitimacy of the action. The final element of soft partition is to reduce United States troop loads, which would in turn lead to an eventual drastic reduction of United States troops in the region.  According to Biden, “unless the Iraqis see and believe we are leaving, they will have little incentive to shape up. Redeployment is also necessary because we can’t sustain this large a force in Iraq without sending troops back on fourth and fifth tours, extending deployments, and fully mobilizing the Guard.”[xcvii]   The five step soft partition plan is interesting and is more politically feasible than dividing the country into three independent nations. Despite this; hard partition goes further in attempting to address the problems that plague Iraq currently, and therefore in possibly providing a permanent peace in Iraq.

            B. Peter Galbraith’s solution

            A more hard line approach to the Iraq problem is advocated by Peter Galbraith, a and former ambassador to Croatia and was a senior advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee between 1979 and 1993, and a political scholar who is very familiar with Iraq. Iraq Peter Galbraith is the biggest advocate of a hard partition of  Iraq. The first premise of Galbraith’s argument is that the current state of Iraq is broken. In his essay titled, “The Case for Dividing Iraq”, Galbraith writes, “Iraq's national-unity government is not united and does not govern. Iraqi security forces, the centerpiece of the U.S.'s efforts for stability, are ineffective or, even worse, combatants in the country's escalating civil war.”[xcviii]  The main motivation behind hard partition for Galbraith is that the partition of Iraq already occurred.  Galbraith claims that the current federal government of Iraq does little to protect its people and is not considered a legitimate government authority. International law, as I will argue, provides recourse for those seeking self-determination in such circumstances.

            Hard partition addresses the desires of the Iraqi people and evidence of this comes from the election results in 2005.  Even though most Iraqis do not support the insurgency or actively engage in sectarian violence, “in the December 2005 national elections, Shi'ites voted overwhelmingly for Shi'ite religious parties, Sunni Arabs for Sunni religious or nationalist parties, and the Kurds for Kurdish nationalist parties. Fewer than 10% of Iraq's Arabs crossed sectarian lines. The Kurds voted 98.7% for independence in a nonbinding referendum.”[xcix]  The current Iraqi constitution adopted by 80% of the voters gives ample independence to each of the three main ethnicities in Iraq. While the Bush administration fails to recognize the Iraqi peoples desire to break off from one another, political scholars acknowledge the break-off.

            The history of Iraq shows that the people who live there never voluntarily unified under one nation.  Britain, under Winston Churchill, forced the unification of Iraq after World War One and the break up of the Ottoman Empire.  By unseating Saddam Hussein from power, the United States also dismantled the army and the Ba’ath party which were the two biggest unifying forces in pre-invasion Iraq.  In addition, the use of force subsequent to the invasion to keep the country unified only tears Iraq apart further.  An example of this is when the United States bombed a The Shia Golden Mosque in Samarra causing a dramatic increase in sectarian violence and furthering Iraq’s disintegration.[c] Galbraith continues, “Shi'ite police units have kidnapped, tortured and executed thousands of Sunnis since the Samarra bombing. Sunni policemen are often insurgents or sympathizers.”[ci] Thus, the existence of a fair unbiased central government in Iraq is an illusion.  It is not rare for government officials to act in the interest of their own ethnicity due to the historical distrust that exists between the Shia, Sunni and Kurd people in Iraq.

            Unlike a soft partition of Iraq, hard partition would require less United States involvement, because it would allow Iraq a quicker opportunity to initiate their self-government. Because Iraq is fragmenting in the status quo the formalization of its break up would not have a unique impact. It would be impossible to increase sectarian violence because it is already at an alarming level.  Additionally, hard partition will not cause Iranian dominance over the Shia region.  If the United States is seriously concerned with the threat of Iran, then the United States must act independently from the Iraq situation to address this threat.  Furthermore, countries who appear to oppose hard partition, in particular Turkey, may ultimately realize that it is in their best interest.  Arguing against scholars who say hard partition is impossible because of Turkey, Galbraith writes, “As Turkey's more sophisticated strategic thinkers understand, Turkey and an independent Kurdistan have a lot in common. Both are secular, pro-Western, democratic and non-Arab. Not only will Kurdistan depend on Turkey economically, but it can serve as a useful buffer to an Iran-dominated Islamic Iraq.”[cii]

            The Bush administration refuses to consider hard partition in Iraq as a viable option and this is a mistake.  In the 1980s America opposed the break up of the Soviet Union due to concerns about regional destabilization and spread of nuclear weapons, but in reality the impact of this break up was minimal. Similar to the Soviet Union, Iraq is a

country with a history of violence and groups of diverse individuals forced to live under the same flag.  Instead of disintegration overnight, America, along with Iraq’s neighbors and members of the United Nations Security Council have the opportunity to formalize Iraq’s breakup increasing its legitimacy and fairness to all ethnicities involved.  Maintaining a central authority and government in Iraq is dangerous.  There are no checks and balances preventing one ethnicity in power from taking advantage of other ethnicities.  Iraq’s past proves that even in democracy, minority oppression and sectarian violence is inevitable even with large amounts of federalism.[ciii]

            The arguments for the hard partition of Iraq are convincing even though the solution does not receive much political support. The facts are (1). Iraq is in a civil war now, (2). Iraqi people support hard partition, (3). Iraq was unified arbitrarily and through force, and (4). Likelihood that Iraq’s neighbors would realize that it may be in their best interest are all strong reasons Galbraith discusses.  Political scholars counter these claims when they mention the impossibility of dividing large cities like Baghdad. Scholars also argue that the new independent nations would go to war against each other.[civ]  Ultimately, the fact remains that Iraq is in a state of civil war.  This civil war does not seem likely to end any time soon.  Additionally, there is no evidence that the federal government in Iraq is gaining respect of the Iraqi people or any sort of legitimacy.  Without a federal government that can protect all citizens, a representative democracy fails to achieve its goals.  The cold hard facts point towards hard partition as the only option to resurrect Iraq’s dire situation.

V. Separation and Consequences: Reasons Against Partition

            There are difficulties with the soft or hard partition of Iraq.  First, it is unclear which government has the authority to partition Iraq.  It appears that the United States does not have the sole legal authority to partition Iraq, and must depend on a combination of Iraqi and international actors, whose roles are discussed in the sixth section of this paper. . Even though there are legal justifications within international law that advocate the United States, as on occupying power, has the right to partition an occupied State if certain elements are met. Occupying powers have significant leeway in determining the path of the State in need. A balance must be stuck between territorial integrity and the duty to restore vie publics.  Andrew George, a J.D. Candidate at the University of Virginia and member of the Virginia Journal of International Law outlines the options of occupying powers in his article titled, “We had to Destroy The Country To Save It; On The Use Of Partition To Restore Public Order During Occupation”. George believes that certain options of occupying powers are unclear; however, the occupying power is granted leeway in doing whatever they believe maintains peace and safety for the citizens of the State. Furthermore, Article 43 of the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land states, “the [Occupying Power] shall take all measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.”[cv]  Therefore, if the laws currently in existence in the State are not adequate the United States has the opportunity to step outside these laws.  George cautions, “There is, of course, real risk to giving the Occupying Power such latitude. An Occupying Power could insincerely invoke civilian needs as a justification for pursuing a hidden agenda.”[cvi]  International law proposes a balancing test, where the interests of the citizens of the occupied state are weighted against the interests of the citizens of the occupying power.

            Under a positivist international law approach, there is no explicit duty to maintain territorial integrity. The Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions says, “[n]othing in this Protocol shall be invoked for the purpose of affecting the sovereignty of a State or the responsibility of the government, by all legitimate means, to maintain or re-establish law and order in the State or to defend the national unity and territorial integrity of the State.”[cvii]  The purpose of the Geneva Conventions was to protect States from invasion and not to prevent Occupying Powers from dividing up the territory of the occupied State in order to bring about peace.  George concludes, “[the duty] is in no way specific to the law of occupation, nor is it absolute. Territorial integrity has seen countless violations over time, and respect for it has proven quite conflict-dependent, as world concern for territorial incursions typically reflects world opinion favoring or opposing the conflict at large.”[cviii]

            While George brings up good points on the ability of an Occupying Power to partition a country, international and Iraqi participation is needed in this situation. First, the International community has a customary norm of respecting the territorial integrity of sovereign nations.  If the United States unilaterally partitioned Iraq, it seems likely that the international community would look down on the action. Furthermore, allowing the Iraqi government a say in partition would increase the likelihood that it is accepted by Iraqi citizens.  Acceptance from the Iraqi people is essential for the benefits of partition to occur. Thus, even though the United States has the possibility to partition Iraq without violating international law, this is not the best option.

            Second, a fight between ethnicities over large and important cities is likely to occur. It is not likely that all three new nations or states would agree upon where these cities are placed.  Whatever entity elects to partition Iraq will have to ensure that the respective interests of the Shia, Sunni and Kurdish peoples are taken into account.

An additional concern with partitioning Iraq is the impact of partition on Iranian regional hegemony.  Many people fear that the Iranians would control the new Shia country and have them as a strong ally.  Without a large country like Iraq to buffer Iranian influence, their regional power has the possibility to escalate.  Iran is led by a volatile leader who does not always think through his actions.  Several countries worry what an over confident Iran would do if they did not have to worry about answering to the politicians in Baghdad. [cix]

            The final concern over the partition of Iraq is the possibility that the civil war would turn into a war among three new nation states.  Disputes over resources between the Kurds, Shia, and Sunni might serve as ingredients for an inter-state conflict.  A scenario imagined here would place Iraq back in a position where it started. During a regional war, the new countries’ economic growth becomes stifled and increases the likelihood that one, two or all three new countries become failed states.  These failed states could attract Ba’ath party or al-Qaeda loyalists and act as a safe haven for terrorism.

            While these concerns must be addressed, partitioning Iraq remains a viable option.  The newly ratified constitution advocates partition in certain aspects.  Therefore, many of the impacts critics of partition say will happen are already occurring or should have happened. Due to these facts, it appears the only option remaining is the choice between soft and hard partition.  Hard partition is the best option, unless an alternative reason for the need of a federal Iraqi government is found.


VI. The Benefits Outweigh the Burdens: Why Hard Partition is Best

            The countless number of ethnic battles coupled with the rise of insurgency in Iraq indicates that a dramatic plan is essential to rescue the country.  Without an extraordinary solution, the United States will be forced to maintain or possibly increase the number of troops in Iraq.  Moreover, civilian Iraqis will prolong the fighting and killing and disagreement in the international arena will intensify.  The Iraq dilemma is a powder keg of problems between nation states and has the potential to further escalate Middle Eastern instability.  Middle Eastern instability could spillover into multiple regions (e.g. Eastern Europe, The Caspian Region, Southeast Asia) resulting in regional or inter-regional warfare.

            Government officials on several fronts have discussed the plausibility of partitioning Iraq.   In particular, both hard and soft partitions have been studied.  Recently, political scholars have claimed neither solution will resolve the growing turmoil in Iraq.  These scholars have varying opinions as to which course of action is the most appropriate to cope with the Iraq dilemma.  

A.   Soft Partition versus Hard Partition

            As mentioned briefly above, there is a divide amongst political scholars who discuss the Iraq dilemma. One group of people believes that Iraq should be partitioned in a soft manner. These individuals advocate a weak federal government with participation from the three main ethnic groups.  Even though the three ethnic groups would retain a large sense of autonomy within their own regions, certain categories fall under the competence of the federal government.  Edward P. Joseph, writes, in “The Case for Soft Partition of Iraq”, [6] that, “the time may be approaching when the only hope for a more stable Iraq is a soft partition of the country. Soft partition would involve the Iraqis, with the assistance of the international community, dividing their country into three main regions.”[cx]  While this part of partition is similar to those who advocate hard partition, the federal system of Iraq would remain in place.  Baghdad is still the capital of a federal government which would have authority to decide certain matters.  Joseph continues, “Each would assume primary responsibility for its own security and governance, as Iraqi Kurdistan already does. Creating such a structure could prove difficult and risky.”[cxi]  Even though the Kurds have some sense of autonomy right now, sectarian violence is not decreasing.  Joseph goes on to claim soft partition is the only viable option.  He writes, “when measured against the alternatives—continuing to police an ethno-sectarian war, or withdrawing and allowing the conflict to escalate— the risks of soft partition appear more acceptable”[cxii]  Joseph’s argument lacks the consideration of hard partition altogether. A proposal of soft partition begs the question – if the ethnicities of Iraq desire a strong sense of autonomy, why stop short of fully granting it to them? This is a flawed approach to the problems facing Iraq.  Instead of considering this counter argument to his theory, Joseph answers weaker arguments.  One argument he considers against soft partition is, “Soft partition would represent a substantial departure from the current approach of the Bush Administration and that proposed by the Iraq Study Group, both of which envision a unitary Iraq ruled largely from Baghdad.”[cxiii]  This argument is political in nature and not a strong reason to reject soft partition, or hard partition, for that matter  The second argument Joseph considers, is “[soft partition] would require new negotiations, the formation of a revised legal framework for the country, the creation of new institutions at the regional level, and the organized but voluntary movement of populations.”[cxiv]  The first two criticisms exclusively apply to soft partition while the third part of this argument applies to both soft and hard partition.  The current failed situation in Iraq makes it impossible for a revised legal framework to work in the country.  Additionally, new institutions at a regional level will cause a power vacuum making the federal government even weaker than it already is.  The voluntary movement of the Iraqi people is discussed in Part D of this section of the paper and obviously applies to both scenarios of partition.

            Critics of soft partition come from both sides of the debate.  On one hand critics claim that Iraq needs to remain a single state and that any partition solution must be rejected. Others argue that the current framework of Iraq prevents soft partition from solving the problems that plague the country.  Michael Young in, “Breaking Up Ain’t Hard to Do,” [7] advocates hard partition and rejects notions that it cannot work.  He argues, “the likelihood is that the differences are in the details, not in the overall principle of distributing power away from the center, a process explicit in the federal structure mandated by the Iraqi Constitution.”[cxv] If the current Iraqi Constitution already mandates regional autonomy then the problems of sectarian violence should be solved in the status quo.  This is simply not the case, and proves that something more than soft partition must occur.  Furthermore, “Baghdad’s control over Iraq has all but disintegrated, so that any practical plan must take this into consideration. But just how much is unclear. The proposal outlined by The Times, if it is proven true, would suggest substantial dissemination of power.”[cxvi]   Advocates of soft partition do not suggest any sort of proposal for the dissemination of power.  A weak federal government in Iraq cannot be sustained in a situation where there is soft partition.  Each region must fight amongst each other and issues which are declared to be federal in competence, become illusory thrusting the country into further civil war.  Young concludes, “This would create a confederal structure in form, but the partition of Iraq in fact, regardless of claims that the Iraq Study Group has no such agenda.”[cxvii]  Thus, in reality soft partition is hard partition cloaked for political and regional appeasement.

            An expert on Iraqi inter ethnic relations is Peter Galbraith who understands the turmoil between the ethnic groups.  Galbraith’s arguments and evidence of his expertise to speak on the current situation in Iraq arises from an interview with an online website called Kurdish media. When asked what the Iraqi people desire in the elections, Galbraith responded, “The results of the December elections are likely to resemble the January elections. The peoples of Iraq will vote their ethnic or confessional identity, and few will vote as Iraqis. The Kurds will vote once again almost unanimously for the Kurdistan list and the Shiites will vote for the religious parties.”[cxviii]  Galbraith’s prediction proved to be the case, which illustrates the fact that central authority in Iraq has completely eroded.  While Ba’ath party loyalists and Sunni Arabs did not participate in the previous election, they still have a strong influence in the outcome of the Iraq situation.  Even though, “Last January, the Sunni Arabs expressed their identity by not voting, which many now realize was a mistake. They will now vote for Sunni parties, and especially those linked to the old Sunni-dominated regime.”[cxix]  The new elections have not brought unity with Iraq; instead, they have only divided the ethnic lines in a democratic sense, creating a new division amongst the Iraqi people.  Power politics in democratic countries is not a new phenomenon, but placing it in a country that is already a failed state is a dangerous thing to do.  The likelihood of Iraq benefiting in any way appears remote.

            Peter Galbraith expresses sympathy for the Kurdish people of Iraq in his writings.  For centuries the Kurds have suffered and the West has responded by giving them false premises or pseudo-autonomy.  Galbraith resents these actions and claims, “I have great sympathy for the Kurdish people who have suffered horribly under Iraqi rule. But my analysis is based on the strategic interests of the United States. Every Kurd wants independence, and keeping the Kurds in Iraq against their will is a formula for never-ending violence and repression.”[cxx]  Soft partition will not solve the problems the Kurds face and potentially creates a situation in which the problems of the Iraqi Kurds are escalated.  If the Sunni and Shiite peoples form an alliance to limit the Kurds from productive action in the soft partitioned weak central government they are left powerless. When asked if soft partition of Iraq will work Galbraith is skeptical.  He claims, “A unitary Iraq is unstable and unachievable; a loose federation may work. But, if not, the U.S. should work for a peaceful separation.”[cxxi]  This is a proper assessment of the Iraqi situation, and as a political scholar familiar with the region, Galbraith is an excellent source.  Further advocacy for the Kurds is explained in Part D of this section of the paper.

            In conclusion, there are four main reasons why soft partition would fail to benefit Iraq to the extent that a hard partition would.  First, soft partition requires some sort of co-operation among the three regions for there to be a federal government.  This cooperation does not seem likely and is clearly not occurring in the status quo.  Second, there is a very small likelihood that the Kurds and Sunni populations agree upon oil concessions for the Shiite population.  As a powerful resources internationally and in great demand, those two ethnicities must do whatever it takes to hold on to such a valuable resource.  Third, soft partition is equivalent to the Articles of Confederation pre the United States Constitution.  Competition between the three regions results in the failure of the federal system.  Fourth, there is a lack of universal support for soft partition from the Iraqi people.  Unless an overwhelming majority of Iraqis want to maintain their national flag and federal government which over time they have learned to mistrust, then there is no point in the international community forcing them to maintain it.

A hard partition avoids all of these problems while affording benefits of its own. It does not make much sense to give the Iraqi people minimal autonomy when they can experience complete liberation.  This is a feeling that none of the ethnic groups have ever experienced, and has the possibility of going along way to eliminating sectarian violence.  Now is the key time to act, and all interested parties should throw politics aside and do what is right (or at least has the best chance) for stability of the region. 

            B.  Diversity as Basis for Nation Building

            One argument against the partition of Iraq in any form claims that Iraq was a diverse nation with mixed neighborhoods of different ethnicities before the US occupation.  Prior to the US invasion, these different ethnic groups lived in relative peace with one another.  Ghassan Michel Rubeiz, former secretary of the World Council of Churches, argues, “The report touting partitioning of Iraq is a tragic oversimplification. Dividing Iraq after a war of destruction is a continuation of a Washington policy of doing harm with an intention to do well. Surgically dividing Iraq after occupying it and eroding its stability is tantamount to letting the knife do what the gun has failed to do.”[cxxii] Rubeiz believes that the key solution to the current problems is the Iraqi people learning how to coexist with one another without American occupation.  The main rationale behind his belief is that the Sunni and Shia people only fight with each other because they become upset when one ethnic group works with the “occupier,” the United States.  Rubeiz continues, “Most importantly, the insurgents, both Shiites and Sunnites, are fighting to terminate foreign occupation. Sunnites attack Shiites because the Shiite leaders yield to the commands of the U.S. occupier and not because they belong to a different sect. The Sunnites managed to provoke a military response from the Shiites, perpetuating a civil war, whose complexity is confusing to the locals and to the world outside.”[cxxiii]

            The problem with this argument is that another major ethnicity in Iraq is sold short.  All proposals advocating for the continuation of the current state of Iraq exclude the Kurds leaving them without a nation-state and having minimal influence in Iraqi politics. Galbraith argues, “Every change sought by the Sunnis (with support from some Shiites) comes at the expense of Kurdistan's autonomy.  Even if Kurdistan's leaders could be cajoled into ceding some powers to the central government (such as a power to impose taxes which Baghdad does not now have), this would be overwhelmingly rejected by the independence-minded Kurdish public.”[cxxiv]  Diversity based on ethnic lines in modern day Iraq is not only a flawed assumption on face but is defective due to the historical strife between Sunni and Shia populations and their failure to recognize the Kurdish situation.  Galbraith continues, “With characteristic lack of foresight, the administration is pushing ahead with constitutional revisions, seemingly oblivious to the consequences of the entire package being defeated in the required referendum, where the three purely Kurdish governorates exercise a veto.”[cxxv]  Even if Rubeiz is right in assuming that the only difference between the Shia and Sunni peoples is the United States occupation, the claim does not come to terms with the fact that the Kurdish population in Iraq is always sold short.  Peace and unification through diversity is only successful when all ethnicities are at least on face treated equally.  Clearly, history proves that the equal representation of all ethnic groups has never happened in the Iraq of the present, the Iraq of the past and is rarely to happen in the Iraq of the future.

            A second problem with this argument is that it assumes there is potential for an everlasting peace.  As previously discussed, attacks by Iraqi insurgents are not only increasing against the United States, but ethnic infighting is also increasing as well. Rubeiz’s argument assumes that there is a chance for a stable Iraqi state.  Under the present system, the Iraqi state is unsound and there is a rare chance of realization that democratic nation-states thrive on diversity.  Historically, the polarization of ethnic groups in Iraq always prevents productive change given the current geopolitical boundaries.

            C. The Turkey Dilemma

            The fact that Turkey insists that it will repress any chance of a Kurdish state represents one of the biggest problems in partitioning Iraq.  Because the Kurdish people are spread across multiple nation-states and the fact that the Turkish government believes the Kurdish situation goes beyond the PKK, if Kurdistan was independent, Turkey would most likely invade.  George Friedman explains, “The broader issue is not the PKK, but Kurdish independence. The Kurds are a distinct ethnic group divided among Turkey, Iran, and Iraq and, to a small extent, Syria. The one thing all of these countries have agreed upon historically is they have no desire to see an independent Kurdistan.”[cxxvi]  This issue poses the gravest threat to a three-state solution to Iraq.  If the Kurds become independent it is reasonable to assume that not only Turkey but Iran and Syria would oppose their independence.  Friedman recognizes, “Even though each has, on occasion, used Kurdish dissidents in other countries as levers against those countries, there always has been a regional consensus against a Kurdish state.[cxxvii]  Turkey, Iran and Syria would not only worry about the effect the new nation-state has upon their own respective Kurdish populations but would also worry about each others’ use of  the Kurdish state to influence politics within their own countries.

            This argument against Iraqi partition is strong and cannot be ignored.  “The Turks, therefore, are tremendously concerned by the evolution of events in Iraq. Whether northern Iraq simply evolves into an autonomous region in a federal Iraq or becomes an independent state as Iraq disintegrates is almost immaterial. It will become a Kurdish homeland and it will exist on the Turkish border. And that, from the Turkish point of view, represents a strategic threat to Turkey.”[cxxviii]   Therefore, the path the United States and the international community decide to take in the future does not matter. Whether the Kurds have rights under the current Iraqi constitution, or exist as a state within a larger federal Iraq or are independent is irrelevant to Turkey.  The United States is on the verge of a confrontation with Turkey regarding the Kurdish situation no matter what path is taken.  Therefore, giving these people the most autonomy is the ideal situation because not only is it the right thing to do according to customary international law, but self-autonomy also confronts the problems that the US has with Turkey head-on as well.

            Despite this concern, the United States relies on Turkey to counter balance the regional hegemony of Iran.  Without a strong ally in the Middle Eastern region, the United States is in a very precarious position.  Realizing this need, “In 2003, the United States was cautious with Turkey; though in the final analysis it was indifferent. It no longer can be indifferent. The United States is now in the process of planning the post-Iraq war era, and even if it does retain permanent bases in Iraq, dubious for a number of reasons, it will have to have a regional power to counterbalance Iran.”[cxxix]  Therefore, many scholars believe that the United States will dash the hopes of Kurdish independence.  A main reason for this is that, “A powerful and self-confident Turkey has a geographical position that inevitably reflects all the regions that pivot around it.”[cxxx]  The growing Turkish military presence on the Kurd border, in addition to its economic weight, creates an opportunity for an increase in multi-regional Turkish hegemony.  Turkey presents a problem for the United States because on the one hand, Kurdish independence helps solve the Iraqi problem.  On the other hand, not only is a war with Turkey a logistical and political nightmare, but it allows Iran to take advantage of the situation.  An Iranian government would use the possible United States-Turkish affair to justify the development of nuclear weapons and assert regional dominance. [cxxxi]In addition, “Iran has always been aware of and cautious with Turkey, but never as much as now while Turkey is growing economically and doing the heavy lifting on the Kurds. Iran does not want to antagonize the Turks.”[cxxxii]  If Turkey’s attention is focused upon the US and a new Iraqi Kurdistan, then Iran may attempt to assert regional dominance.        

            The current situation in the Middle East demonstrates the importance of Turkey in the region.  After the end of World War I, Turkey’s role in the political arena was minimal. Because the problem with Cyprus alienated Europe and due to the lack of economic infrastructure during the 20th century, Turkey’s role on international politics was limited.[cxxxiii]  Today, this can be seen in Turkey’s desire to become a member state in the European Union.  Specifically, “Greece was under Ottoman occupation for more than 400 years. Some Greeks still regard Istanbul as a "Greek" city. Another country where politicians and public opinion diverge. Opinion polls suggest only 25% of Greeks believe Turkey has a place in the European Union.”[cxxxiv]  Even though the desires represent one member state, member state influence cannot be ignored.  In response to the Greek peoples concerns, “The government, meanwhile, is keen to resolve bilateral tensions through Turkish integration. But it says the fate of Turkey's EU application depends, primarily, on the Turks themselves - especially where recognition of Cyprus in concerned.”[cxxxv]   Instead of being in the shadow of international politics, Turkey is now in the lime light.    Whether it is a desire for EU membership or its opinion of the situation in the Middle East, Turkish influence is undoubtedly increasing.  This is important because, “For the past 90 years, Turkey has not played its historic role. Now, [economic and politico-military] indicators point to Turkey's slow reclamation of that role. The rumors about Turkish action against the PKK have much broader significance. They point to a changing role for Turkey and that will mean massive regional changes over time.”[cxxxvi]   No matter what, Turkey has an effect on an Iraqi partition.  A main reason why certain people oppose the partition of Iraq is because they fear a confrontation with Turkey.  Even though this is an important concern, there is a need for an independent Kurdistan.  

            D. The Kurdish rights to self-determination


1.The Kurdish people fulfill all customary international law conditions justifying a nation state. 

            In order to justify the creation of three autonomous nation states divided from the current boundaries of Iraq, there must be legal authority. There are many similarities between the ethnic problems of Africa and Nation-building and the Iraq problem.  Additionally, The standards applied by advocates for Tibetan freedom suggest that the Kurds ought to be able to exercise their own rights to self-determination, and thus are legally entitled to an independent Kurdistan

            The current attempt to reduce ethnic strife in Iraq relies on the use of federalism in the Iraqi Constitution. This type of federalism is called ethnic or identity based federalism. Ethnic based federalism is, “a system of government, [that] attempts to resolve one of the problems that imperialist, colonial history created by granting autonomy to groups whose culture and identity have long been suppressed in the unity of modern nation-states.”[cxxxvii]   The federal government’s goal by having regional autonomy is to address the multiple interests of each ethnic group in the country.  Ethnic federalism makes the assumption that identity cannot be removed from the political sphere.  In her article titled “Can Ethnic Federalism Prevent “Recourse to Rebellion?” A Comparative Analysis of The Ethiopian and Iraqi Constitutional Structures” Nicole B. Herther-Spiro uses a comparison between the Constitution of Iraq and Ethiopia.  Herther believes that each State’s Constitution mandates ethnic federalism. The reason for this is that both countries have citizens who identify along their ethnicity and not their nation.  Herter writes, “Federalism based on ethnicity, or the territorial subdivision of a country in a way that divides political power among conflicting groups, has also been implemented in many different countries, including Ethiopia and, most recently, Iraq.[cxxxviii]  A main difference between Ethiopia and Iraq, however, is the reason for multiple ethnicities.  The Ethiopian Constitution establishes regional states based on language.  Language is the root of separation between all of the citizens of Ethiopia.  Nevertheless, “In Iraq identity is defined by both ethnicity and religious sect. The Iraq Constitution specifically recognizes the Kurdish state in the north.[cxxxix]   Even though the federal government understands the need to address ethnicities in this model of government, there are setbacks.

            One problem giving ethnicities ample power within their respective regions is the lack of a strong central government.  Clearly Ethiopia and Iraq are two countries with weak central governments and a multitude of issues. The lack of trust between the different groups dissolves the central authority.  Herter continues, “decentralization of power to regional governments can be easily undermined, despite constitutional grants of power, while extensive regional autonomy can cripple the unity of a country by rendering the central government powerless.”[cxl]  When some states adopt ethnic federalism the system fails because each ethnicity lacks a sense of national community.  The impact of this is that the government fails to represent the needs and interests of its constituents. Rivalries among the ethnicities create internal strife in the State and tear it apart at the seams.  The federal government of Ethiopia has problems enacting legislation and ruling land.  Several people in the country die each year due to disease spread, starvation and ethnic killings.  Clearly in the status quo, Iraq has problems due to the legal structure of their Constitution.  Shia and Sunni populations struggle for control of the government, while the Kurdish people desire independence.

            Another problem with ethnic federalism is that it prevents ethnic groups who feel they have a right to self-determination from full nation state independence.  Herter uses the Kurdish people as an example of citizens of Iraq who will never fully support the central government of Iraq.  The Kurds believe that they have a right to self-determination and desire a State of their own.  For the Kurds to accomplish this goal they must prove that their situation falls within the standards outlined by international legal authority. The 1966 International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Civil Political rights both define self-determination.  Article One of both covenants mandates: “all peoples have the right of self-determination.  By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”[cxli]  Additionally, in 1970 the General Assembly declared that “[each state must respect] the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”[cxlii] While it is a customary norm to respect territorial integrity, international organizations and other States may carve out territory of a failed State if the citizens of that country severely discriminate one group.  As explained above, the Kurds suffered at the hands of Saddam Hussein and their situation is not much better currently. Ethnic federalisms failure in Iraq to protect the rights of the Kurds is the main reason why they meet the international legal criteria for a right to self-determination. 

            In “The Right to Self-Determination-The Legal Cornerstone to Tibet,” political scholar Eva Herzer explains why Tibet satisfies the two pillars necessary to justify being an independent nation state.  Herzer writes, “The legal case of Tibet rests on two distinct pillars. First, the right to territorial integrity and second the right to self-determination. Both of these rights, separately, give the Tibetan people the choice to determine their future political, economic, social and cultural status.”[cxliii]  The same thing can be said about the Kurds who live in Northern Iraq.  This section of the paper examines each pillar Herzer presents proving why customary law and resolutions passed by the United Nations support hard portioning.

            One of the biggest problems of the hard partition option is determining how to go about dividing the country.  To determine which body has the authority to divide Iraq a definition of state must be found.  The United States federal courts have ruled]that a nation-state is one that “[has] competence, within its own constitutional system, to conduct international relations with other states, as well as the political, technical, and financial capabilities to do so.”[cxliv] It must be noted that this is one district court ruling and does not reflect the opinions of all the courts in the United States.  Others suggest that statehood is valid when other states and international organizations recognize the country as sovereign. Furthermore the state must have a defined territory, population and ability to engage in relations with other states.[cxlv] Origins of this modern definition of a nation state are from Europe and spread throughout the world in the post colonial era. The modern nation state is based upon the uniformity of culture.[cxlvi] Political scholars use the term “popular sovereignty” as a way to describe the modern nation-state. The theory of popular sovereignty “emphasizes the political identity of individuals and conceives culture as irrelevant, capable of being transcended or uniform. These definitions of a nation-state are clearly not applicable to the current state of Iraq; nevertheless, the second definition is applicable if other countries and international organizations recognize the three new countries as nation-states post partition.  While the United Nations places strong emphasis on territorial integrity, they have made exceptions which allowed them the power to create a new state.[cxlvii] An example of an exception to the United Nations commitment to territorial integrity was the 1947 Partition Plan for Palestine.[cxlviii]  The 1947 Partition Plan for Palestine proposed dividing Palestine into Jewish, Arab and internationally administered states.[cxlix] The United Nations stated, “a fundamental objective [of the plan] was to achieve a reasonable prospect for the preservation of peaceful relations in the Middle East.”[cl] Therefore, legally, it is appropriate if the United Nations passes a resolution recognizing the three countries as nations. International recognition goes a long way at making hard partition legally legitimate, and, by acting as an instrument of international actors, the United Nations could by definition provide this sort of recognition           

            The focus on partitioning Iraq must be on the Iraqi people themselves and not the United States.  There is no legal justification for granting Americans the authority to divide up another state unless they can prove they meet the criteria as an Occupying Power. In his essay titled “Viable Alternatives to Build a Stable Democracy in the Iraqi Political Environment”,[8] Joel Roberson, explains the limitations of United States authority for Iraqi partition and possible alternatives to these limitations.  Roberson explains, “the United States presence in Iraq as occupiers requires the restoration of public order and safety, [except] in extreme circumstances, it must be done within the laws in force in the country.”[cli] It logically follows that the United States would overstep its legal authority in Iraq by unilaterally dismantling the country. A solution to this problem highlighted by Roberson is the recognition of the three new countries by the United Nations.  Using Namibia as an example of this type of U.N. recognition, Roberson concludes, “In 1971, the United Nations claimed the right to recognize new nation-states in its decision to recognize Namibia and place sanctions on South Africa until it left the country.[9][162]  Based on its international obligations, it would be very difficult for the United States to mandate the partition of Iraq into three separate nation-states.”[clii] While there is strong evidence against U.S. unilateral hard partition, it seems likely that the United Nations has the possibility to legitimize the partition of Iraq through international recognition.  Consequently, if hard partition occurs, it must occur through domestic actions of the Iraqi people or international community acceptance. For the international community to accept these new nation states, each ethnicity must illustrate that they have a right to territorial integrity and self-determination.


                        a. The Kurdish people have a right to territorial integrity

            To determine whether the Kurds have a right to territorial integrity, there must be a concrete definition as to what territorial integrity actually means.  According to Herzer, “The right to territorial integrity is the right of a sovereign nation to retain control over its territory.”[cliii]  Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter mandates that, “[a]ll members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of any state.”[cliv]   This definition is problematic because the Kurds are not a sovereign nation. Nevertheless, if it can be established that the Kurds have a right to self-determination or a right to become a sovereign nation, then it is logical to assume that they then have a right to territorial integrity.  Furthermore, territorial integrity does not rest on self-determination alone.  Herzer further explains with her example of Tibet, “Thus if Tibet can show that she was sovereign prior to the Chinese invasion, then she is entitled to continued and future sovereignty, which means she has the right to decide on her future political, social, cultural and economic status.”[clv]  Previously throughout history, the Kurds were an independent group, and did not fall into the Iraqi state until British interference in the region.  Furthermore, in the status quo, the Kurds enjoy relative autonomy from the rest of Iraq; but this autonomy is simply inadequate. The Kurds are bound politically to the rest of Iraq, and thus territorially as well. In his article entitled “Iraqi Regime Change and the Kurdistan Regional Government”, Barham Salih of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy proves that the Kurds have pseudo-independence.  Salih claims, “Since it became an autonomous region in 1991, Kurdistan has taken advantage of its relative freedom from the tyranny of Baghdad. As a result, Kurdish culture has blossomed, media outlets have boomed, and the number of schools, physicians, and universities in the region has increased dramatically.”[clvi] Thus, for over fifteen years, the Kurds have had pseudo-independence.

            Pseudo-independence is important in establishing the fact that a Kurdistan region actually exists. Even though it spreads through multiple countries, a large majority of Kurds live in the region of northern Iraq commonly known as Kurdistan.  While some argue that this pseudo-independence is enough, Salih rejects these claims.  Salih continues, “Nevertheless, it has reached a dead end. The Kurdish people realize that in order to ensure further cultural revival, better education, and additional healthcare, a regime change in Baghdad is necessary.”[clvii]  Due to a lack of complete independence, the Kurdish people suffer at the hands of the Iraq federal government.  Even if there was a soft partition of Iraq, the Kurds still fall at the mercy of the Sunni and Shia.  The historical distrust among all of these people is a recipe for a failed state.  Nevertheless, it is evident that the history of the Kurdish people, while intertwined with the Iraqi Sunni and Shia populations, is separate.  Additionally, the fact remains that the Kurds have operated independently through the no fly zones that came into effect during the first Gulf War. 

            The two points that (1). Kurdish history is independent of Iraqi Sunni and Shia peoples and (2). Kurds enjoy some sense of autonomy under the status quo fulfill the requirements provided by Herzer in her first pillar.  As an independent sovereign nation before modern nation state building, the Kurds, with their unique history, are entitled to territorial integrity. The lack of a nation state to call their own limits this integrity severely.  Large countries using their hegemonic power in the Middle East, such as Turkey, assert their interests over the Kurdish populations in their country.  Syria and Iran also limit Kurdish autonomy under the present system, and infringe upon their territory.  As a group of people who are entitled to the protection of their own territory, it is clear that the first pillar of Herzer’s argument as to when a group of people is entitled to a nation state to call their own.  The Tibetans and the Kurds are similar in that they both have a unique sense of history and operate in semi-autonomous manners.  If Herzer makes the claim that Tibet deserves to be independent, then she must accept the argument that the Kurds deserve a nation state for a couple of reasons.  Unlike Tibet and China, the other ethnic groups in Iraq can not claim that their history is intertwined with the Kurds.  Additionally, the Kurds in Iraq have enjoyed a much greater sense of autonomy than Tibet even though this autonomy is not enough.  Therefore, it is safe to assume that Herzer would conclude that the Kurds are entitled to a sense of territorial integrity thus meeting the first pillar allowing for the use of customary international law practices as legal authority for an independent Kurdistan. 

                        b. The Kurdish people have a right to self-determination

            The second pillar of justifying an independent Kurdistan is proving that the Kurds have a right to self-determination.  Self-determination is enshrined in the United Nations charter as a primary justification for its existence. Herzer argues, “The right to self-determination is a cornerstone of the UN Charter which in Chapter 1, Article 1 (2) states: The purposes of the United Nations are: [To] develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of [peoples].”[clviii]  It appears that the United Nations contradicts itself when it places importance on both self determination and territorial integrity. Nevertheless, the concept of territorial integrity is important for the United Nations because they want to prevent one country from invading another.  Self-determination is important for the United Nations because it is important for each independent ethnic group to have a State. A state, or international organization acts in accordance with both views of the United Nations if the need for self determination significantly outweighs the obligation to respect territorial integrity.

             As long as the Kurds can prove that they are entitled to equal rights as all other people, Americans, Chinese, Turks, then they must have a nation state to call their own.  The basis for this claim is the United Nations Charter which all member states must accept before their entrance into the organization.  In 1970, the United Nations adopted a policy on self-determination stating, “All peoples have the right to freely determine, without external interference, their political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and every State has the duty to respect this right in accordance with provisions of the Charter.”[clix]  To prove that the Kurds fall within this definition, the use of the term “peoples” by the General Assembly should be explored in more detail.  If it is established that the Kurds are a group of peoples, then an argument can be made that they have a right to self-determination.

            As mentioned previously, the General Assembly uses the term “peoples” and not a group of individuals. This is clarified by Herzer when she states, “It is important to note that the right to self-determination is the right of people(s), not the right of just any group of individuals.”[clx]  She continues by asserting that the Tibetan people fall within the definition stated by the General Assembly. International law defines a group of people who have, “a common historical tradition, a racial identity, a shared culture, linguistic unity, religious affinity, a territorial connection and a common economic life.”[clxi] As explained previously in this paper, The Kurds meet all these criteria.  First, they have a common historical tradition.  Second, they are an independent race, who were formerly nomads and racially are not the same people as Iraqi Sunni and Shia people.  Third, they share the same culture, language, religion, territorial connection and common economic life.  None of these facts can be disputed, which proves that the Kurds fall under the definition of peoples used by the General Assembly.

            Kurdish rights to self-determination beg the question as to how they go about asserting this right.  No group can exercise this right if the nation in which it is operating refuses to yield to the desires of this group.  As articulated by Herzer, “when a people wishes to implement its right to self-determination by seeking full independence and a state does not want to give up control over the territory, claiming the right to territorial integrity, a tension is created, which must be resolved.”[clxii]   It is fair to assume that a majority of Iraq would oppose Kurdish independence.  One of the reasons for this is because of the vast amount of oil reserves in the Kurdish/Iraq region.  Another reason is that many Sunni and Shia fear that Kurdish independence leads to instability in the Middle East and the continuance of war in the region.  Therefore, reconciliation must be found through customary international law or other legal authority that provides a solution to the problem. The Vienna Declaration of 1993 states, “territorial integrity can only be invoked by legitimate governments conducting themselves in compliance with the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples. A state's legitimacy derives from satisfaction of its duties to its citizens.”[clxiii]  Factors that determine satisfaction of its duties include protection of the population, promotion of welfare for its peoples, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the promotion of self-determination and equal rights.[clxiv] If it is the case that the current Iraq does not fulfill these duties then the Kurds have a strong case to seek independence.

            From the Saddam Hussein Ba’ath party regime and on, the Kurds lacked protection from the central government.  In fact, during the Al-Anfal campaign, a number of Kurds were slaughtered by the central government of Iraq.  Therefore, it is clear that the federal government does not protect the Kurds.  Second, no scholar can point to an instance in which the welfare of the Kurds was promoted by Iraq.  In fact, several policies were instituted to harm and hurt them.  Third, the Iraqi government has not respected human rights and has committed several violations against humanity.  Finally, the Kurds have not enjoyed equal rights in the Iraqi federal government and have had to battle discrimination throughout their history.  If a nation fails to meet these requirements then “When a state does not promote these interests but instead represses the people, destroys their culture and economically exploits them, it loses legitimacy as a government and cannot prevail on its claim of territorial integrity.”[clxv] Thus, Iraq cannot claim that their territorial integrity is violated if the Kurds claim their independence.  The best manner possible for the Kurds to assert their independence is to claim themselves free of the Iraqi federal government on the grounds that they have a right to self-determination.  This declaration of independence cannot be established by the United States. The Kurds must establish the claim themselves.  At this point, it is logical to assume that the other two major ethnicities in Iraq, Sunni and Shia would follow suit and three nation states would form under legitimate legal authority as a result of the United Nations Convention and The Vienna Declaration of 1993.

                                    i. United Nations stance on self-determination

            Even though the United Nations Charter advocates settling disputes peacefully, it does not rule out the use of force.  Article 2 (3) and 2 (4 ) of the Charter prohibit the use of force but Article 52 allows member States to use force in self-defense when they are attacked.  Additionally, Chapter VII allows the collective use of force. Article 2 (4) provides, “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner  inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.”[clxvi]   In addition Article 2 (7) states, “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the  Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter, but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter.”[clxvii]  Both these Articles appear prohibitive of United Nations involvement in Iraqi partition.  Furthermore, the articles rules out the use of force by the United States implementing hard partition.  Nevertheless, an emerging concept of “internationalized  civil wars” allows United Nations competence over Iraq.  Mustafa Sahin concludes, “this clear cut division has lots  its feature with the development of the concept of international right to self-determination and the popularity of “internationalized” civil wars.”[clxviii]  The impact of Iraq civil war is international and sovereignty is at issue. In 1965 the General Assembly accepted Resolution 2105 (XX) that, “recognizes the legitimacy of the struggle by the peoples under colonial rule to exercise their right to self-determination and independence and invites all States to provide material and moral assistance to the national liberation movements in colonial territories.”[clxix]  United Nations competence for the Iraq issue emerges from this Resolution, and makes it a prime actor for acknowledging a newly proclaimed state, were the Kurds to make such a declaration.

                                    ii. Jus cogens and the International Court of Justice

            Two other important factors of the right to self determination are customary law and the opinion of the  International Court of Justice.  The International Court of Justice has ruled]that self-determination is “a right held by people rather than right held by governments alone.”[clxx] In addition, the right to self-determination is a part of customary international law or jus  cogens.  In international law, “jus cogens norms are the highest rules of international law and they must be strictly obeyed at all times.”[clxxi]  The  International Court of Justice recognizes the right of a people to self-determination, especially when they reside in a state where imperfect de-colonization exists.  Imperfect de-colonization occurs when a former colony merges a bunch of people into a new country and “the people of [this] [country] have different languages, ethnicities, religions or cultures.”[clxxii]  The use of force and international intervention is permitted for states that were de-colonized imperfectly.

                                    iii. Kosovo’s impact on self-determination

            A recent example of a country where multiple ethnicities lived was the former Republic of Yugoslavia.  Serbs, Kosovars, Albanians, Croatians and many other ethnicities  lived in segregated parts throughout the country.  After countless atrocities and government persecution, certain ethnicities began to demand their own state.  The basis of their demand was their legal right to self-determination.  In his article titled “Kosovo’s Status: Serb Sovereignty vs. Albanian Self-Determination”, Raju G. Thomas[10] writes, “international law generally has favored the territorial integrity and sovereignty of existing states and rejected the right of self-determination, whatever the historical origins of state boundaries.”[clxxiii]  Nevertheless, the United Nations backed the ethnic Albanians and region of Kosovo in their demand for independence from Yugoslavia. The international community believed the Kosovars adequately proved their right.  The Kosovo situation is a model for the Kurdish situation in Iraq because both ethnicities are unique and have lacked a state throughout history.  A strong parallel between the Kosovo situation and the Kurdish situation supports their self-determination movement.

                                    iv. Kurdish pleas for self-determination

            The Kurdish leaders in Iraq make it clear they want independence.  Many leaders argue that the League of Nations Mandate of Iraq in 1925 grants the United Nations the authority to create an independent Kurdistan. This mandate forced Iraq to comply with certain stipulations protecting minorities and prevented the government from taking over private property. From 1925 on these minimum standards on minority treatment were not met.  The Kurdish Declaration of Self-Determination of May 15, 1992, argues, “any infraction or danger of infraction of any of these stipulations may give rise to action by the League Council or ultimately, the Permanent Court of International Justice.”[clxxiv]   Therefore, if the Kurds can justify their right to self-determination, the United Nations not only has an opportunity to intervene but an obligation to intervene.


            De to the reasons articulated above, it is clear that the Kurds can use customary international law as appropriate legal authority for their independence.  First, the Kurds are entitled to territorial integrity which independence grants them.  Second, the Kurds can establish a legitimate right to self-determination.  If both these pillars are met, according to Eva Herzer, then a group of people(s) should be free.  Similar to the Tibetan case the history and identity of the Kurds justifies their secession from the current Iraqi nation.

            2. Without an independent nation state, the Kurds are destined to a life of                                  discrimination and oppression

            The preceding discussion establishes a practical need for legal authority for a Kurdish state.  Kurdish security and welfare is insecure under the status quo.  This situation is analogous to the providing of a homeland for the Jewish people after World War II.  Without a sovereign nation state, the Kurds are at risk for oppression and discrimination.  Evidence of this discrimination begins in what was known as the Al-Anfal campaign.  Khaled Salih discusses the genocide of Kurd people during this campaign in his essay titled “Anfal: The Kurdish Genocide in Iraq”.  In October 1988, the Kurdish people of northern Iraq led an uprising to promote their freedom.  This uprising was met with brutal force.  In response to Kurdish desires for independence, “Iraq sent its army 'to crush a rebellion of the Kurds who fought at Iran's side, as Iraq aimed 'to stamp out the insurgency.”[clxxv]  Even if it is disputed that Iraq used poisonous gas on the Kurdish people, it was evident that while the rest of the world stood idle, Kurdish people were slaughtered.  They had no place to run, no place to hide and without a state to call their own, had no protection from an army.  If anything, the Al-Anfal campaign illustrates the desire for Sunni and Shia populations in Iraq to discriminate against the Kurds and in some instances murder them in the thousands.

            Furthermore, the concept of discrimination and oppression against the Kurdish people has not dissipated in recent times.  Salih continues "The Ba'athist rulers in Iraq have always desired to create a harmonious, conflict-free society, orderly, controlled and docile in their hands. The Kurds have constituted the main challenge to this vision based on the rhetoric of pan-Arabism.”[clxxvi] Even if the Ba’ath party is not in control now, there are still several Ba’ath party loyalists in Iraq.  So long as the Kurdish people in northern Iraq share the same government as the Sunni and Shia there is a risk of oppression.  A parallel can be drawn to the Jewish people who were persecuted while the world watched during both World Wars.  Inaction by the international community along with the lack of a nation state, led to millions of Jewish people dying at the hands of Nazi Germany and their supporters. Even though the international community has taken steps to protect Iraqi Kurds through the use of the northern no-fly zones, this pseudo-autonomy has not prevented inter-ethnic violence amongst the Iraqi peoples.  The one thing that the Sunni and Shia people of Iraq can agree upon is their disdain for the Kurds.  If the Iraq state remains unchanged, then there is a strong possibility of Kurdish oppression and discrimination. In addition, Turkey, Syria and Iran also have long-standing policies hostile to the Kurds and are likely to discriminate against them and view them as terrorists if there is no independent Kurdistan.  Now is the key time to recognize the Kurds as an autonomous group of people deserving of a nation to call their own.  Not only does this help to stabilize the Middle East as a region, but it prevents the slaughter of innocent Kurds in the future as well.  History proves that this side of the argument is the correct one.

            E The Iraqi people do not support hard partition

            Another common argument against hard partitioning is that a majority of the Iraqi

people do not support the policy.  This is a fallacy and studies indicate that most

Iraqi people support a division of Iraq along ethnic boundaries.  Democratic participation in the Iraqi government has helped give the people who were powerless a voice; and this voice made them realize the potential for change.  Several studies only poll very few Iraqis so it is difficult to really get a feel of what the Iraqis as a people want.  One thing is positive, at least one ethnic group, the Kurds want to have their own nation state.  This desire is shared across all Kurdish people whether they reside in Iraq, Iran, Syria or Turkey.  In his Washington Post article titled “Partition Debate Splits Iraq”, Jefferson Morley writes, “According to a U.S. Institute of Peace report, the focus on ethnic and sectarian identity has sharpened as a result of Iraq's political process, while nationalism and a sense of Iraqi identity have weakened.”[clxxvii]  Many Iraqi people are losing their sense of what it means to be Iraqi.  Subsequent to the United States occupation of the country, insurgents who were Sunni or Shiite did not find it difficult to kill other Iraqi’s who supported the United States or who were from a different ethnic identity.  This provides evidence to the argument made by the U.S. Institute of Peace report.

            Additionally, the ethnic groups of Iraq, besides the Kurds, are swayed by the same ethnicities of neighboring countries.  Morley notes, “Shia Iran, already wields significant sway across the huge swath of oil-rich southern Iraq where the long-oppressed Shia majority now hold the political upper hand.”[clxxviii]  Therefore, politicians from Iran might want to convince the Shiite people to not support partition so they can take advantage of their political power and repress the other two major ethnic groups.  This concept of power politics in democracy is what I discussed above and what prevents scholars from making assertions that discuss what the Iraqi people want.  Morley continues, “But neighboring Sunni powers, including Saudi Arabia, would find it intolerable if Iran were to emerge as an even more dominant regional power out of the ashes of its long-time rival Iraq.”[clxxix]  Thus, other countries have reasons motivated by self-interest to convince the other major ethnicities to reject partition.  All of these considerations play a factor and must not be disregarded when discussing the appropriate path to take.

            One of the three main ethnic groups, the Kurdish people wants to be free.  It is hard to determine what the populations of the other two main ethnic groups want to do.  There is little reliable statistical data on this topic.  Additionally, it is clear that the interest of regional powers in the outcome of Iraq has spurred them to motivate other ethnic groups in one way or the other.  Nevertheless, it is clear that there are a lot of Iraqis out there who do not want the current Iraqi state to be in existence.  A lot of the Iraqis who do not support partition only do so because they believe that they can use the new democratic system to their advantage and out play the other ethnicities in a game of power politics.  I strongly agree with the report by the U.S. Institute of Peace when it concludes that an Iraqi sense of nationality has weakened in the post Saddam regime.  The erosion of identity, nationality and faith in a Federal Iraq is another reason as to why the country should be separated into three different nations.

            F. Iraqi Diaspora

            The final argument against hard partition which must be discussed is the impact of hard partitions on the movement of populations in Iraq.  Even though there are clear regions in which large numbers of Kurds, Sunni and Shia populations live, there are also regions in which the ethnicities live together.  Examples of these places include Baghdad and Kirkuk.  While the Kurds can not make an argument as to why Baghdad is entitled to them due to geographic and population issues, they can make the argument that they are entitled to Kirkuk. Regardless, the Sunni population in Kirkuk is large and they most likely wants this city as well.  Sunni and Shia populations must fight over Baghdad.  On top of all of this, even in small cities and villages the mixed populations cause problems.  It is fair to assume that individuals living in a newly formed country who are not part of that identity would no longer want to live there.  This requires mass movements of large populations. 

            This issue is explored by Dahr Jamail in his essay titled “Into the Iraqi Diaspora”. The diaspora at issue is one created by large amounts of Iraqis on the move both within the country, as well as outside of it, as a result of the conflict. One of the reasons I do not believe that the requirement for populations of Iraq to move post partition is that this is already occurring in the status quo. In addition, the reason why so many Iraqis are moving from their original homes in the status quo is due to the sectarian violence.  If sectarian violence is minimized, then there is a strong potential for movement to occur less frequently and the brain drain of Iraq to end.  Jamail writes, “there's the poorly covered refugee crisis -- probably the worst on the planet at this moment -- gripping the country. Almost 4 million Iraqis have had to leave their homes, according to Refugees International. But do not just rely on some impartial NGO for your information.”[clxxx]  Thus, the problem of movement of Iraqi people is not new.  It is a problem that has occurred throughout the crisis.  Even if Iraq were to remain what it is now, the sectarian violence would still cause families to move.  As a failed state, the Diaspora is something that we all must come to terms with.  Jamail explains, “it is a big competition right now among a variety of groups; and, again in an environment, in Baghdad in particular, [that is] very heavily colored by an influence of the sectarian violence.' Neighborhoods have been depopulated and General Petraeus believes that 'hundreds of thousands, maybe millions' of Iraqis have been displaced.”[clxxxi]  If conflict continues in Iraq then people will move regardless.

            In summary, the Iraqi Diaspora is a serious consideration against a hard partition. Arguments can be made to prove why it is a problem that Iraq and the international community face no matter what course of action is taken in the country.  First, the sectarian violence is the root cause of the Diaspora.  A reduction in the sectarian violence through hard partition may in fact be a driving force at lowering the amount of Iraqis who are displaced.  Second, this problem does not affect most of the Kurdish areas because they are predominantly in the north.  Finally, cities such as Bagdad and Kirkuk could be shared by the newly independent countries or considered separate entities in and of themselves with their governance controlled by both countries.  Their resources could be shared and citizens of these cities have the potential for dual citizenship.  The status of these cities could be ultimately determined down the road, several years after hard partition has taken place.  Even though there are difficulties in this realm of partition,    are they enough to reject hard partition as an adequate solution to the Iraq crisis?


VII. Hard Partition’s Possibility to Restore Order: Concluding Remarks

            Now is the key time for the American, Iraqi and international community to tackle the ongoing problems in Iraq.  It is in the interest of every person involved to find a solution that puts an end to sectarian violence, civilian deaths and oppression of women and minorities.  Finding an adequate solution is difficult due to the unique history of the country.  Furthermore, overarching problems in the Middle East as a whole complicate the situation further.  Instead of being a roadblock to a solution to the problem, these problems must act as a catalyst and motivating force to achieve peace in Iraq.

            The United States does not need to act alone by carving up Iraq as they see fit.  The hard partition of Iraq can occur in a couple of ways.  First, the Kurds may declare their independence and formation of an Iraqi Kurdistan on the basis of customary law.  Along with customary law, the Kurds can use specific language adopted by the United Nations in past resolutions to justify their independence from Iraq.  Second, the United Nations must establish a special council consisting of the United States, Iraqi Kurds, Sunni and Shia, other members of the United Nations Security Council and neighboring countries for the purpose of determining the boundaries of the new countries.  Third, the Sunni, Shia and Kurds can vote to dismantle the federal government on their own by passing a law within the current Iraqi government. One thing that is clear is that the United States cannot convey the perception that they are the ones deciding the fate of the Iraqi people. The best solution is one that gives the Iraqi people the freedom to choose for themselves.

            It is clear that Iraq is currently in a state of disarray. The hard partition of Iraq has a very small chance of making the situation worse.   On the other hand, the hard partition of Iraq has a very high chance of creating a positive environment where the people of Iraq can move forward.  An independent Iraqi Kurdistan is not only the morally right thing to do but also makes sense practically.  The Kurds have no desire to participate in a democracy with Sunni and Shia Iraqis.  Additionally, Iraqi Kurds were promised throughout history that they would have a country to call their own.  This promise was never upheld and because of this, Kurds have had to suffer countless genocide attempts and oppression from the majority they are subjected to live under on a daily basis.  A separation of Sunni and Shia peoples in Iraq also lowers the chance for sectarian violence.  Independent countries guarantee both Sunni and Shia political participation and power.  Currently, the skepticism, rivalry and hatred between the two groups is one of the major factors as to why Iraq is a failed state.  The two ethnicities are already separated socially and geographically, therefore it only makes sense to separate them politically. It is not logical to advocate a soft partition of Iraq which maintains the federal government, the very entity which is the root cause of many of the problems.  Hard partition’s elimination of political rivalries and power struggles that exist in the current Iraqi state is preferred over soft partition.  Despite appearing as a drastic and desperate attempt to solve the crisis, hard partition is one of the very few options that can save many Iraqi citizens.       


[1] The United States wanted to deter the Soviet Union from expanding its sphere of influence.  Iran received support from the Soviet Union and therefore was an enemy of the United States.  Thus, the American government decided to support Iraq with the purpose of checking the expansion of  the Soviets.

[2] The Mid East Web, Iraq Crisis and war: A historical overview, found at, retrieved on November 25, 2007, at 2.

[3] Algiers Accords, January 19, 1981, Declaration of the Government of the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, located at

[4] George Friedman, Iraq: Positive Signs, Retrieved on November 1, 2007.

[5] Sharon Otterman, Iraq: The Sunnis, December 12, 2003, at 1.  The Council of Foreign Relations, located at

[6] Edward P. Joseph, The Case for Soft Partition of Iraq, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute, found online at on October 13, 2007, published June 2007 at 1.

[7] Michael Young, Breaking Up Ain’t Hard to Do, October 12, 2006 at 3.


[8] Joel Roberson, Viable Alternatives to Build a Stable Democracy in the Iraqi Political Environment, found online at, retrieved on September 13, 2007 at 30.


[10] Raju G. Thomas, Kosovo’s Status: Serb Sovereignty vs. Albanian Self-Determination, December 2nd, 2005 at 1.

[i] Martin Wolk, Cost of Iraq War,, March 17, 2006.  retrieved on November 1, 2007.

[ii] Id

[iii] Jonathan Weisman, Projected Iraq War Costs Soar, The Washington Post, April 27, 2006 at 1.

[iv] William R. Polk, Understanding Iraq 67 (2005).

[v] Id

[vi] Id

[vii] Id

[viii] Id

[ix] Id

[x], retrieved on October 1, 2007.

[xi] Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq, Cambridge University Press, 2000.

[xii] Id

[xiii] Id

[xiv] Id

[xv] Id

[xvi] Id

[xvii] Id

[xviii] Id

[xix] Id

[xx] Polk, supra at 3.

[xxi] Id

[xxii] Id

[xxiii] Id

[xxiv] Omer Tapinar, The Old Turks’ Revolt: When Radical Secularism Endangers Democracy, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2007, pg. 117

[xxv] Id

[xxvi] Brendan O’Leary and Khaled Salih, The Denial Resurrection and Affirmation of Kurdistan, located in The Future of Kurdistan (2005) at 6.

[xxvii] Declaration by the Kingdom of Iraq, League of Nations

[xxviii] O’Leary & Salih, supra xxvi at 6.

[xxix] Id

[xxx] Id

[xxxi] Polk, supra  at 3, 81-82.

[xxxii] Id

[xxxiii] Nathan J. Brown, Constitutionalism, Authoritarianism and Imperialism in Iraq, 53 Drake L. Rev. 923, 935 (2005).

[xxxiv] Declaration by the Kingdom of Iraq, League of Nations, supra at xxvi

[xxxv] Tripp, supra at x

[xxxvi] Id

[xxxvii] George Black, Genocide in Iraq: the Anfal campaign against the Kurds: Human Rights Watch, July 1993, retrieved on November 30, 2007.

[xxxviii] Polk, supra at 3, 78.

[xxxix] Id

[xl] Joost Hiltermann, Bureaucracy of repression: the Iraqi government in its own words: Human Rights Watch, February 1994, retrieved on November 30, 2007.

[xli] The Mid East Web, Iraq Crisis and war: A historical overview, found at, retrieved on November 25, 2007, at 2.

[xlii] Id

[xliii] United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, April 8, 1991, Mid East Web, accessed December 1, 2007; S.C. Res. 688, U.N. Doc. S/RES/688 (Apr. 5, 1991)

[xliv] Matthew Hay Brown Jr., Iraqi Sanctions Without Medicine And Supplies, The Children Die, Common Dreams News Center, retrieved November 20, 2007.

[xlv]James Cockayne and David Malone, Creeping Unilateralism: How Operation Provide Comfort Zone and the No-Fly Zones in 1991 and 1992 Paved the Way for the Iraq Crisis of 2003, 37 Security Dialogue 123, 126 (2006)..; United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, April 8, 1991, Mid East Web, accessed December 1, 2007; S.C. Res. 688, U.N. Doc. S/RES/688 (Apr. 5, 1991).

[xlvi] Id

[xlvii] Id

[xlix] United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, April 8, 1991, Mid East Web, accessed December 1, 2007; S.C. Res. 688, U.N. Doc. S/RES/688 (Apr. 5, 1991)

[l] Cockayne & Malone, supra  xlii

[li] Adam Roberts, Transformative Military Occupation: Applying the Laws of War and Human Rights, 100 Am. J. Int’l. L. 580, 616 (2006).

[lii] Id; United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483. S.C. Res. 1483, U.N. Doc. S/RES/1483 (May 22, 2003).

[liii] Grant T. Harris, The Era of Multilateral Occupation, 24 Berkeley K. Int’l L. 1, 67 (2006); BBC News, Saddam’s Death ends dark chapter, December 30, 2006. Retrieved on October 11, 2007.

[liv] Id

[lv] Ashraf al-Khlaidi & Victor Tanner, Sectarian Violence: Radical Groups Drive Internal Displacement in Iraq 6-7 (Oct. 2006) (An Occasional Paper, on  file with The Brookings Institution), available at

[lvi] Id

[lvii] Id

[lviii] Edward Wong, To Stay Alive, Iraqis Change Their Names, N..Y. Times, Sept. 6, 2006 at A1.

[lix] Id

[lx] Id

[lxi] Id

[lxii] Washington Post, Iraq is Sinking Fast: Ranked No. 2 on List of Unstable States, June 19, 2007. Retrieved on October 15, 2007.

[lxiii] George Friedman, Iraq: Positive Signs, Retrieved on November 1, 2007.

[lxiv] Id

[lxv] Id

[lxvi] Sudarsan Raghanava, At Checkpoints in Baghdad, Disguise Is a Lifesaving Ritual, Washington Post, September 29, 2006 at A1.

[lxvii] Id

[lxix] Michael Rubin, Are Kurds a Pariah Minority?, 70 Soc. Res. 295, 301 (2003)

[lxx] Id

[lxxi] Bill Park, Iraq’s Kurds and Turkey: Challenges for US Policy, 34 Parameters 18, 20 (2004)

[lxxii] Rubin, supra  l at l

[lxxiii] G.S. Harris, Ethnic Conflict and the Kurds, located in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1977, at 118-120.

[lxxiv] M. Farouk-Sluglett, P. Sluglett, J. Stork, Not Quite Armageddon: Impact of the War on Iraq, MERIP Reports, July-September 1984,  at 24

[lxxv] Cockayne & Malone, supra  xlii.

[lxxvi] Rubin, supra  l at l

[lxxix] Id

[lxxx] Sharon Otterman, Iraq: The Sunnis, December 12, 2003, at 1.  The Council of Foreign Relations, located at

[lxxxi] Id

[lxxxii] Id at 3.

[lxxxv] Id at 4.

[lxxxvii] Id at 5.

[lxxxviii] Paul Sullivan, Who are the Shia?, George Mason’s History News Network, found at, retrieved on November 13, 2007, at 1.

[xc] Id at 5.

[xci] Id

[xcii] Id

[xciii] Wong, supra lvii; Raghanava, supra at lxvi.

[xciv] Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., The Way Forward in Iraq: Avoiding Partition, Preserving Unity, Protecting America’s Interest, Remarks to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia (May 1, 2005) (transcript available at 

[xcv] Id

[xcvi] Id at 3.

[xcvii] Id at 4.

[xcviii] Peter W. Galbraith, The Case for Dividing Iraq, Time, Nov. 5, 2006 (article available at,9171,1555130,00.html).

[xcix] Id

[c] Id at 2.

[ci] Id

[cii] Id at 4.

[ciii] Id at 5.

[civ] C.J. Greenwood, Reprisals and Reciprocity in the New Land of Armed Conflict, in Armed Conflict and the New Law: Aspects of the 1977 Geneva Protocols and the 1981 Weapons convention 237, 238 (Michael A. Meyer ed., 1989)

[cv] Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land art. 43, Oct. 18, 1907, 36 Stat. 2277, 1 Bevans 631.

[cvi] George, Andrew. We had to Destroy The Country To Save It; On the Use of Partition To Restore Public Order During Occupation, 2007 Virginia Journal of International Law, pg. 7

[cvii] See Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts art. 3, June 8, 1977, 1125 U.N.T.S. 609

[cviii] George, supra, at

[cix] Id

[cx] Edward P. Joseph, The Case for Soft Partition of Iraq, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute, found online at on October 13, 2007, published June 2007 at 1.

[cxi] Id

[cxii] Id

[cxiii] Id at 2.

[cxiv] Id at 2.

[cxv] Michael Young, Breaking Up Ain’t Hard to Do, October 12, 2006 at 3.

[cxvi] Id

[cxvii] Id

[cxviii] Peter Galbraith, an interview with Kurdish media, found online at, on October 13, 2007, published January 12, 2005, at 1.

[cxix] Id

[cxx] Id at 3.

[cxxi] Id at 3.

[cxxii] Ghassan Michel Rubeiz, Partitioning of Iraq cannot be Soft, Middle East Online. July 11, 2007 at 2.

[cxxiii] Id.

[cxxiv] Peter W. Galbraith, The Way Out, The American Prospect, July 10, 2007 at 1.

[cxxv] Id.

[cxxvi] George Friedman, The Geopolitics of Turkey Geopolitics Intelligence Report, July 31, 2007 at 1.

[cxxvii] Id.

[cxxviii] Id at 2.

[cxxix] Id at 3.

[cxxx] Id at 4.

[cxxxi] Edwin S. Herman and David Peterson, Hegemony and Appeasement: Setting Up the Next U.S.-Israeli Target (Iran) For Another "Supreme International Crime", January 27, 2007 at 4.

[cxxxii] Id at 3.

[cxxxiii] Graham E. Fuller, Turkey’s Strategic Model: Myths and Realities,  Washington Quarterly, Summer  2004, at 7.

[cxxxiv] Jan Repa, Analysis EU views on Turkish bid, September 30, 2005 at 3.

[cxxxv] Id.

[cxxxvi] Friedman, supra  note xviii at 4.

[cxxxvii] Nicole B. Herther-Spiro, Can Ethnic Federalism Prevent “Recourse to Rebellion?” A Comparative Analysis of The Ethiopian and Iraqi Constitutional Structures, Spring 2007 Emory International Law Review at 1.

[cxxxviii] Id at 2.

[cxl] Id

[cxli] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Dec. 16, 1966, 993 U.N.T.S. 3.

[cxlii] Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, G.A. Res 2625 (XXV), U.N. Doc. A/8082 (Oct. 24, 1970)

[cxliii] Eva Herzer, The Right to Self-determination-the Legal Cornerstone to Tibet, June 28, 2007 at 1.

[cxliv] Knox v. Palestine Liberation Organization 306 F.Supp.2d 424, 438 (S.D.N.Y., 2004).

[cxlv] John R. Kennel, J.D., Corpus Juris Secundum International Law § 5 (2006).

[cxlvi] Steven L. Solnick, Federalism and State Building: Post Communist and Post-Colonial Perspectives, in the Architecture of Democracy: Constitutional Design, Conflict Management and Democracy 171 (Andrew Reynolds ed., 2002)

[cxlvii] G.A. Res. 181 (II), U.N. Doc. A/Res/181 (II) (Nov. 29, 1947).

[cxlviii] U.N. Special Committee On Palestine [UNSCOP], Reports to the General Assembly, U.N. Doc. A/364 (Sept. 3, 1947).

[cxlix] Id

[cl] Id

[cli] Joel Roberson, Viable Alternatives to Build a Stable Democracy in the Iraqi Political Environment, found online at, retrieved on September 13, 2007 at 30.

[clii] Id

[cliii] Herzer, supra, note lxiv at 1.

[cliv] Covenant of the League of Nations art. 10, available at

[clv] Id at 2.

[clvi] Barham Salih, Iraqi Regime Change and the Kurdistan Regional Government, Policy Watch No. 656, September 17, 2002 at 1.

[clvii] Id

[clviii] Herzer, supra note lxiv at 3. 

[clix] Id

[clx] Id

[clxi] Id at 4.

[clxii] Id at 5.

[clxiv] Id

[clxv] Id at 6.

[clxvi] Mustafa Sahin. The Use of Force in Relation to Self-Determination in International Law, June 2006, at 1

[clxviii] Id at 2.

[clxix] UNGA Res. 2105 (XX), adopted 20 Dec. 1965, 74:6:27

[clxx] Karen Parker, Understanding Self-Determination: The Basics, August 2000, Presentation to First International Conference on the Right to Self-Determination, United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland at 1; 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, July 17, 1998, 2187 U.N.T.S. 3. Article Eight, Clause 3.

[clxxi] Id

[clxxiii] Raju G. Thomas, Kosovo’s Status: Serb Sovereignty vs. Albanian Self-Determination, December 2nd, 2005 at 1.

[clxxiv] Kurdish Declaration of Self Determination, May 15, 1992 at 1.

[clxxv] Khalid Salih, Anfal: The Kurdish Genocide in Iraq, 1999 at 1.

[clxxvi] Id at 6.

[clxxvii] Jefferson Morley, Partition Debate Splits Iraq, September 13, 2006 at 3.

[clxxviii] Id at 4.

[clxxx] Dahr Jamail, Into the Iraqi Diaspora, August 3, 2007 at 1.