On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Joseph Biden made a series of stunning arguments in defense of his plan for segregation of Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines. When Mr. Biden first announced his partition plan in May 2006, Iraqi leaders and U.S. officials understood it to mean the establishment of strong Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regional administrations. The Biden plan would have also begun a phased redeployment of U.S. troops in 2006 and withdrawn most of them by the end of 2007.
Despite deep resistance from the Iraqi government, Mr. Biden tried to turn his plan into U.S. policy, introducing a nonbinding Senate resolution that called for its implementation. But his effort completely backfired in Baghdad. The proposal ended up unifying all the disparate Iraqi factions in opposition.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who called on the Iraqi parliament to meet and formally reject the Biden plan, immediately went on Iraqi television with a blistering statement: “[Biden] should stand by Iraq to solidify its unity and its sovereignty . . . [He] shouldn’t be proposing its division. That could be a disaster not just for Iraq but for the region.”
On “Meet the Press” Mr. Biden dismissed Mr. Maliki’s objections because the Iraqi prime minister’s “popularity is very much in question.” Based on what? Most independent analysts who have recently traveled to Iraq point to his heightened popularity as a result of the stabilization of Anbar province, the decimation of al Qaeda in Iraq, and his decision to successfully confront Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army in Basra.