October 1st, 2007
02:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Biden tells al Maliki: 'Get it straight real quick'

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

Filed under: Iraq • Joe Biden • South Carolina
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Colony 14 author, Mount Prospect, Illinois

    If Bush is wrong for attempting "nation building," then mustn't Biden also be wrong for "three-nation-building?"

    October 1, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. queernation, nyc

    Can that comment be any more homophobic!

    October 1, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Conservative James, Phoenix AZ

    Joe Biden – Iraqi Dictator

    Does that mean, Joe, we have a right to tell the French how to run their government (considering the thousands of US soldiers died on the beaches of Normandy, France)?

    You are proving time and time again, Joe, to NOT have what it takes to be President.

    October 1, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Bruce, Charlotte, NC

    I tell you, Biden is looking better and better. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that people are paying attention. I wish everyone would take a deep breath and actually try to understand what this man is trying to do instead of just lashing out with uninformed rhetoric. Biden '08!

    October 1, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. Providence, RI

    Biden's division of Iraq is a very, very bad IDEA.

    October 1, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    This looks like the only realistic short-term solution to resolve this civil war.

    October 1, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  7. Adriana Birmingham, AL

    Sounds like the best idea I have heard so far. If they can't keep from fighting then they have to be separated. It's better than anything I've heard form the conservatives which is either stay the course until we are bankrupt or escalate until this really does turn into a Vietnam with 50,000 dead. Thirty years form now we will realize what a waste this all was. Biden gets my vote. He is the only one with a real plan to get us out.

    October 1, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. SB, Maryland

    Joe Biden: I love your spunk and your honesty. However, months ago, Barack Obama said that your plan to divide the country would be fine under one condition~ If the Iraqi people and their government initiated it.

    I really hope they will initiate it and begin to resolve this horrible mess.

    October 1, 2007 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  9. Carol

    could your REPUBLICAN slant be MORE obvious? What happened to objectivity??? I noticed that most of the suspected Democrats or Independents have been erased from your blog.Way to go.

    October 1, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  10. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    How DARE those dang ungrateful Iraqis decide how to refashion their country after we destroyed its infrastructure, killed thousands of their people, and toppled their government! What GALL to not be bubbling over with gratitude to their occupiers now divying them up! Hey, they owe US, right? It takes all kinds I guess.

    October 1, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  11. pl. at the UN for a while.

    Senator Biden seems just about right where he is. Why does he want an office he is not at all qualified for? Has he at least read a single book on Islamic history?
    I think no.

    October 1, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  12. sonya, atlanta, ga

    Biden's idea is good. But the idea has to come from the Iraqis. We cant say, we want them to embrace democracy then tell them how their democracy should look. Didn't we have enough in carving out the Isreali terrority without consulting its neigbhors. Or post WWII Europe with the Russians. Forcing our wants is not going to solve the problem. Yes, we can advocate for it but its up to the Iraqi people to decide.

    October 1, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    like it or not, there is truth to what Se. Biden is saying, the government elected (under pres. Bush admin) was one that had to be ceritfied by the U.S. and to our like, so we expected them to work with us on the re-construction and fate of their country, yet we have not given them full power to make decisions and we have also not place enough pressure to make them take the right decisions... this administration has proven how inept is really is in handling the situation, drwaing lessons from Serbia is not a bad idea, it is reality and it is doable, but if we do not place ANY pressure on this government how would we ever find a solution. we have the right because we broke it to begin with, we must lead in changing their mentality to do the right thing. I'm a Hillary supporter but I would love to see Joe on a ticket with Hillary... two great minds.

    October 1, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. Raymond, El Paso TX

    Joe, that's it in a nutshell! Enough is enough!

    It amazes me that most Americans agree illegal immigrants should not take advantage of our government's benefits yet the Republican war-mongers are willing to condone the exact same thing by the Iraqi government on a much larger scale ...and BTW, how many billions of dollars are still unaccounted for???

    October 1, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. Sybil

    Divide Iraq into three parts. That is ridiculous. They can't even get Iraq under control. Some people just jump way ahead of themselves. Where do people come up with these ideas?

    October 1, 2007 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Shawn, Lincoln, NE

    I hope that everyone who is paying attention to politics and international affairs understands that any idea for resolution of Iraq's problems can only come from Iraqi leaders now. It is too late to tell them how to set up their government. It is too late to dictate how we would like their country to look. We can only step aside for now and let them figure out their own identity. Iran and Syria also should back off in the same way. Our fighting a proxy war in Iraq with Syrian and Iranian supplied guerrilas only slows the progress of political settlement between Sunni and Shi'ite sects and Kurds in the north. Three states could work if Iraq was in Europe or the West but the Middle East is different. Clans and tribes still hold sway and can circumvent any decision that government officials make. Sorry for my pessimism Sen. Biden but a college student can figure some of this out too, not just a US Senator.

    October 1, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  17. Wayne Doering, Clarendon, Texas

    Thank you very much Senator Biden for laying out a reasonable plan to resolve this IRAQNAM once and for all.
    Presently, the full scale civil war that has trapped our troops with no end in sight, will continue under the leadership of Al-Maliki. It will heed Al-Maliki to take Senator Biden's plan ASAP.

    October 1, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. Nate, Minneapolis, MN

    Hey Sybil...Maybe the reason they can't get Iraq together is that Iraq doesn't want to be together. The 3 state solution is one possibility, guessing surrender as soon as possible is yours?

    October 1, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  19. Brian VA

    Come on Joe, what did you expect?

    October 1, 2007 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  20. Moe, NY

    Actually it does not sound like a bad plan to me, but I doubt it would work. These religious zealots will never stop fighting among themselves. Take a lesson America and keep religion out of politics or our country will end up the same way as Iraq. Separation of church and state at all costs!

    October 1, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  21. Bruce, Charlotte, NC

    Conservative James,
    pl at the UN,
    Providence RI, and

    Thank you so much for proving my point. Its amazing to me how many people out there are so uninformed and uneducated but yet feel compelled to comment on these blogs.

    1) Conservative James – Comparison of this war to WWII is ludicrous at best and just plain ignorant. Germany was occupying France and was liberated by the greatest generation to serve in our armed forces.

    2) pl at the UN – If GWB had read any books on Islamic history, maybe we wouldn't be in this mess. But I betcha Biden has read the Iraqi Constitution.

    3) Providence RI – Can't say much but please explain why you think it is a very bad idea.

    4) Sybil – Again, Biden must have actually read the Iraqi Constitution. Have you?

    Thank you.

    October 1, 2007 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  22. Jillian, Chandler, Az

    I follow a blog from Iraq.
    The citizens of Iraq want Federalism.
    They are tired of all the fighting between the different sects.

    Maliki is in the pocket of Bush – of course he is against this. He would lose power and whatever else he is getting.
    Of course he is against it.

    October 2, 2007 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  23. Whit, Dallas

    To everyone that thinks 'Joe's plan' for Iraq- devolving the central government into regionalized states- is a bad idea: This federal 'option' is part of the Iraqi constitution that the people of Iraq voted in favor of in 2005. None of this plan includes any 'ideas' hatched from Joe, the U.S Senate, or any other American! It's in their constitution people!! Please think about this one small detail before showering us with your ignorance on this topic. It's stated in the Iraqi Constitution.

    October 2, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. Steve Fallon

    Biden is 100% right. Al-Maliki seems to think that the stunningly successful Kurdish model in Northern Iraq is something he can just ignore. Was that a "disaster?" No! The Kurds are doing great. What is a disaster is the al-Maliki-led central government and al-Maliki himself. This guy expects this country to just keep pouring lives and treasure in to his "disaster" while he and his like play a deadly game of King of the Hill. The problem is, the "Hill" is constructed of American dead bodies. The American people want this war to end. Al-Maliki's comments prove he has no respect for the American people. He regards us as a bunch of saps, his personal piggy bank, his personal blood bank!

    Biden kicked al-Maliki square in the teeth and that's what the American both want and demand in a President.

    You go, Joe!

    October 2, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. sonya, atlanta, ga

    This board represents imperialism at its best. Like we have the right to go around the world and fashion it in our ideal image. Do we think America is God. So now Turkey will take over the Kurds land, Sunni's will be swallowed up by Iran and the Shite's for Syria. They will battle each other for oil producing land, oil prices will increase impact world wide markets and the blood shed will erupt all over the middle east. Great idea, wrong.

    October 2, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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