A Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee says Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cannot keep his country together, and a U.S. alliance with Iran might be needed to do so.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday a U.S. partnership with longtime foe Iran makes him uncomfortable but likened it to the United States working with Josef Stalin in World War II against Adolf Hitler. He says the United States has to do what it can to keep Baghdad from falling to insurgents.
"We should have discussions with Iran to make sure they don't use this as an opportunity to seize control of parts of Iraq," Graham said. "They're in this. They're already on the ground. We need to put a red line with Iran."
Asked how, Graham replied, "You just sit down and talk with them."
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Graham's stance appeared to surprise CNN interviewers Gloria Borger and Dana Bash. They even asked Graham say it again.
"I'm sorry, it's sort of hard for me to believe that I'm hearing a Republican say, 'Sit down and talk with Iran,'" Bash said.
"Do you realize what's happening?" Graham replied. "If Baghdad falls and the central government collapses in Iraq, the Iranians are the biggest winner. We're the biggest loser."
An al-Qaida splinter group surprised Western intelligence organizations last week and took control of major Iraqi cities. Iran says it has no interest in a destabilized Iraq as its neighbor.
Graham spoke to CNN's "State of the Union" and CBS' "Face the Nation."
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