“Some will say moving toward strong regionalism would ignite sectarian cleansing. But that’s exactly what is going on already, in ever-bigger waves,” Biden wrote in a 2006 New York Times op-ed he co-authored. “Others will argue that it would lead to partition. But a breakup is already under way. As it was in Bosnia, a strong federal system is a viable means to prevent both perils in Iraq.”
A Biden spokesperson declined to comment on whether Biden views himself as vindicated by the recent moves bringing Iraq closer to a break-up along sectarian lines. However, Biden’s co-author on the plan said it remains the last, best hope for saving the country from spiraling violence.
“It’s the only solution,” said Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. “The ship hasn’t sailed. It’s still a basis for doing something…I don’t know if it will work. But in terms of what could work, it’s the only thing.”
Gelb said the plan was something of a flop after it was rolled out. It came to be branded as a call for “soft partition,” even though he said the intention was to preserve the country rather than see it splinter. Critics said it could even encourage ethnic cleansing.