U.S. Tries to Allay Anger Over Iraq Partition Plan
BAGHDAD, Sept. 30 — The American Embassy reiterated its support on Sunday for a united Iraq as six political parties together voiced their objection to a United States Senate resolution endorsing partitioning the country into three states. In a statement, the embassy said: “Our goal in Iraq remains the same: a united democratic, federal Iraq that can govern, defend and sustain itself.
. . . The statement rebuffs the nonbinding Senate measure, sponsored by Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, and approved last week, which calls for Iraq to be divided into federal regions controlled respectively by Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites. The proposal resembles the power-sharing arrangement used to end the 1990s war in Bosnia among Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats.
Many Iraqi politicians have reacted angrily to the proposal, suggesting that at the very least they find it presumptuous . . . Iraqis have volunteered their opinion to American reporters they encountered. Said one, “So you are going to divide our country.”
. . . The Kurdish parties and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, led by the Shiite cleric Abdul Aziz Hakim, however, strongly support an arrangement in which much of the central government’s power is devolved to the regions. The Kurds already run a semiautonomous state in the north, and the Supreme Council hopes to see the nine majority Shiite provinces in the south band together to form a Shiite region.