Baghdad: Iraqi reaction to the US Senate's unbinding resolution to divide Iraq on ethnic and religious lines into three federal governments ranges between fear of a new bloody phase in their country and optimism of a near end to conflict.
Both Sunnis and Shiites have expressed their opposition unlike the Kurds who welcome the resolution.
Harith Haider Mullah, a doctor at Baghdad Medical City, told Gulf News: "The American Senate's resolution is not new in comparison with the Iraqi constitution which lays down a federal system. Many Iraqi officials called for the formation of a southern and central Shiite province besides the Kurds who are running a virtually independent entity within Iraq. I believe Americans timed this non-binding resolution to forward a threatening message to Iraqis and to notify them as to how extremely poor their political and security situation is and they have no other solution but to split the country into regions according to religious or ethnic divisions."
He added this message was to "intimidate" them and make them think of fleeing abroad.
Shatha Abdullah, a university student, told Gulf News she feels the situation is grave and the Americans came up with this resolution because it was the only choice they had.
Hamdi Al Samarrai, a trader, said, "The Senate's decision will open a new bloody phase in Iraqi life, there are geographical overlaps among Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Arabs and the existence of these entities means there will be borders and new regulations for mobility and residency.
"The Americans destroyed us and we have to call for the civilised world to save Iraq from American terror," he added.
Some Iraqis blamed Israel for pressuring America to take such a move.
Sabah Al Lami, a university professor, told Gulf News: "I am certain that Israel put pressure on America to endorse the plan to divide Iraq."
However, Kareem Abdul Bassit, a mosque imam, feels the move would have a positive effect.
"The US Senate decision has rekindled the patriotic spirit in Iraq and I think that the opportunity is now available to all Iraqi politicians to rethink their considerations and think of the fate of one Iraq despite American and Israeli plans. The decision is in the hands of Iraqis."
He added they should show their unity in deeds, not just statements.