No, this didn't come out of Joe Biden's office. It's a map of a federal Iraq allegedly produced by Ammar al-Hakim's Shahid Mihrab Organization (a SCIRI/SIIC proselytizing organization in southern Iraq) and being distributed by Shia members of the Iraqi parliament (with dark murmurings among the Sunni commentators that it must have been made in Iran because of how Najaf is written). "Federalism is our one path to freedom and security," it declares (update: not "federalism is unity," as I originally wrote... on the low-res version of the map I was first using, I thought it said "tawhid" where it says "wahid". Thanks to badger for the sharper pair of eyes). It was published on an Iraqi Sunni website and then spread like wildfire through the forums and other papers - whether it's authentic or not, it seems to have become one of those viral images and to have touched some exposed nerves. Can't help noticing that there are only two hands clasped together there, not three, and that the Sunni areas are kind of.... dark. And small.
Speaking of exposed nerves, the Iraqi newspaper al-Zaman reported yesterday that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki mocked calls for national reconciliation and dismissed those calling for such reconciliation as conspirators. Yes, I anticipate rapid progress on the national reconciliation front. What could possibly go wrong?
UPDATE: more on the map from the Roads to Iraq blog ("about the half of Ramadi province was given to Karbala while the reality is; Karbala is the smallest Iraqi province") and Badger ("it isn't too much of a stretch to think that "security" in this case includes the point about having direct "federal" Shiite control of the whole border with Saudi, via annexation of that big part of Anbar.") Also on the national reconciliation front, I thought I'd move up to the main page this article quoting a whole bunch of Sunni leaders, including Adnan Dulaimi, welcoming the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. I've been looking around for similar welcoming sounds from the Shia side of the Iraqi scene, but oddly enough haven't been able to track any down. Anyone?