Sunday, February 18, 2007

Joe Biden's Plan for Iraq

Joe Biden visited the Brookings Institute on Thursday, and delivered a speech that outlines his plan for Iraq.

The speech was entitled Iraq's Future and America's Interests and Biden outlined the following five points in his plan.

First, maintain a unified Iraq by decentralizing it and giving Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis breathing room in regions – as the Iraqi constitution provides. The central government would be responsible for common concerns, like guarding Iraq’s borders and distributing its oil revenues.

Second, secure support from the Sunnis – who have no oil – by guaranteeing them a fair share of oil revenues. Allow former Baath party members to go back to work and reintegrate Sunnis with no blood on their hands.

Third, increase economic assistance to Iraq and its regions. Insist that the oil-rich Gulf states put up most of the money, tie it to the protection of minority rights, and create a major jobs program to deny the militia new recruits.

Fourth, initiate a major diplomatic offensive to enlist the support of Iraq’s neighbors. Create an oversight group of the U.N. and the major powers to enforce their commitments. These countries have a profound stake in preventing chaos in Iraq and the credibility we lack to press for compromise by all Iraqis. If a political settlement fails to take hold, these same countries are vital to any strategy to contain the fall out within Iraq.

Fifth, instruct the military to draw up plans for withdrawing U.S. combat forces from Iraq by 2008. Leave behind a small force to take on terrorists and train Iraqis. The best way to focus Iraq’s leaders on the political compromises they must make is to make it clear to them that we are leaving.