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. DaveW, chicago, IL

    The crucial sentence is this: "Other Iraqi politicians have said we have no right to tell the Iraqis [what to do]." I can't find any source that reveals what was really said in the part that's in brackets. Most likely the edited words reflect what he said, but one wonders why they needed to be changed. A very small difference in nuance here could make all the difference in deciding whether Biden's statement is really as arrogant and clueless as it sounds.

    CNN has a responsibility to at least post a link to the actual statement, or better yet, find a way to quote Biden accurately.

    October 2, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Bruce, Charlotte, NC

    Hey Sonya – It was imperialism that got us into this mess. Biden's suggestion is just that, a suggestion, a non-binding resolution. What is wrong with trying to jump-start the diplomatic process? Do you even know what diplomacy is?? Our President sure doesn't! Besides, as it has been pointed out in this blog numerous times already, this suggestion is already contained in the IRAQI constitution. I am absolutely beside myself and incredulous at all the ignorant and uneducated statements. Geez, wake up America! Stop and think!

    October 2, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Dorsey, Fort Polk, LA

    Joe Biden just might win my vote. I am a current Army Active Duty soldier with first hand experience on the ground in Iraq. I agree with what Biden says it is the only way to make it work. Way to go "Joe"!

    October 3, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  4. Gordon Moore, Farmington NM

    Joe is a true leader. His plan can take what will be a bad situation and make it palatable. When Britain left India they divided it into Pakistan , India, and Baglidesh. Maybe Afghanistan Im not sure about that. But the fact remains is that it is breaking into three seperate states. Trying to stop that is like pissing ing the Mississippi river to try to make it go backwards. Can we get some good out of this huge mistake?

    October 3, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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