Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Senate approves Biden's soft partition plan

Q13 of the recent BBC poll asked Iraqis: "Which of the following structures do you believe Iraq should have in the future?"  62% said they want one unified Iraq with a central government in Baghdad.  28% said they want a group of regional states with their own regional governments and a federal government in Baghdad (what Biden is proposing) and just 9% said they want a country divided into separate independent states.

September 26, 2007

Senate Approves Biden's Plan To Partition Iraq

When the Democratic presidential candidates gather in New Hampshire tonight for yet another debate, don't be surprised if Joseph Biden walks on stage with an extra spring in his step. The Delaware senator just scored a fairly significant victory on the issue that has dominated his campaign: Iraq's political future.

Joseph BidenToday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed an amendment "calling for creation of a federal system of government in Iraq with regions divided along ethnic lines," CongressDaily reports. The measure, sponsored by Biden, marks the first Democratic amendment calling for a change in Bush's war policy to clear Senate negotiations of the defense authorization bill. And it passed with a bipartisan, 75-23 majority.

Granted, the "sense of the Senate" measure is nonbinding, which means there's no guarantee that the plan to partition Iraq, which Biden has been touting on the Senate floor and on the campaign trail for months, will be implemented (it probably won't). For that reason, it comes as little surprise that many Republicans were less reticent to jump on board than they have been with binding proposals to change course in Iraq.

But today's vote should still give Biden, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a sense of satisfaction after his GOP rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain, led the charge in dismissing the partition plan during the high-profile Iraq hearings earlier this month. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker pooh-poohed Biden's idea during his testimony, but that didn't stop a number of prominent senators and presidential candidates, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Christopher Dodd and Republican co-sponsor Sam Brownback, from supporting it in today's vote. McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama were absent for the roll call.

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