Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre.....THE future of Iraq as a sovereign nation has been jeopardised with the introduction to parliament of a new law that would enable the country to break up into semi-autonomous regions.
If passed, a self-ruling Shiite state is likely to emerge in the south, based on the autonomous region that Kurds have established in the north.
The Shiite state would not only be able to levy its own taxes and govern itself but, Shiite politicians say, it would have its own armed guards along its borders. Iraq's Sunnis, most of who bitterly oppose the law, have warned it would mark the first step in the break-up of the country and could lead to the south of Iraq becoming a satellite of Iran.
The introduction of the law was marked by a plea from the Speaker of parliament that delegates must compromise and find agreement on the prospect of federalism, otherwise the country risked not only collapsing but descending into anarchy.
"We have three to four months to reconcile with each other," said Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, a Sunni. "If the country does not survive this it will go under."