Biden's plan to divide Iraq into three federalized regions overwhelmingly passed the Senate last week.
ROCK HILL, South Carolina (CNN) - At a campaign stop here Monday morning, Sen. Joe Biden responded to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al -Maliki's charges that implementing the Delaware Democrat's plan to divide Iraq would be a "catastrophe."
Biden's amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill calls for dividing Iraq into a loose federation of three provinces. It passed the Senate overwhelmingly last week by a vote of 75-23.
Al-Maliki criticized the plan last Friday, telling the Associated Press:
"It is an Iraqi affair dealing with Iraqis. Iraqis are eager for Iraq's unity ... Dividing Iraq is a problem, and a decision like that would be a catastrophe."
Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, hit back.
"Other Iraqi politicians have said we have no right to tell the Iraqis [what to do]," Biden told reporters. "Let me tell you, we have a right. Three thousand and eight hundred dead. Twenty seven thousand wounded. Billions of dollars. Let me tell you as President of the United States, they'd have to understand full well that if they don't keep their commitment to implement their constitution then they're on their own. And so, ladies and gentlemen, the idea that al Maliki questions whether or not we have a right to express our opinion, he'd better get it straight real quick."
Biden emphasized that the amendment calls for an Iraqi federal system and not state partition, saying that "it's the only workable plan."
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has promoted the plan of dividing Iraq into federal states since May 2006. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, who is running for president on the Republican side, was a co-sponsor of the measure.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby