Iraq's prime minister told The Associated Press that a US Senate proposal to split the country into regions according to religious or ethnic divisions would be a "catastrophe."
The Kurds in three northern Iraqi provinces are running a virtually independent country within Iraq, while nominally maintaining relations with Baghdad. They support a formal division. But both Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims have reacted with extreme opposition to the US Senate proposal.
The majority Shi'ites, who would retain control of major oil revenues under a division of the country, oppose the measure because it would diminish the territorial integrity of Iraq, which they now control. Sunnis would control an area with few if any oil resources. Kurds have major oil reserves in their territory.
The nonbinding Senate resolution calls for Iraq to be divided into federal regions under control of the three communities in a power-sharing agreement similar to the one that ended the 1990s war in Bosnia. Democratic US presidential hopeful Sen. Joseph Biden was a prime sponsor of the measure.