Thursday, 24 July 2008

“Let’s squeeze them” 2

Following up an earlier post on Iraqi PM Maliki’s recent statements, here are a few more interesting links.

From Iraq the Model, July 22nd:
The state-owned Al-Sabah quoted a senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, as saying: “The change in the prime minister’s position has to do with his own perception of the political developments in the United States…Maliki thinks that Obama is most likely to win in the presidential election and that he will withdraw his country’s troops from Iraq as he pledged in his campaign.” The official added that Maliki sees that “he’s got to take preemptive steps before Obama gets to the White House.” [more]

From Steve Schippert at Threats Watch, via the Small Wars Journal blog, July 23rd:
The leader of the Iraq Awakening is still waiting for that call from an interested US broadcast news organization. Crickets… No major broadcast anchor lifted the phone to contact Sheikh Ahmad al-Rishawi, who met with Senator Obama, to inquire about the discussion from his perspective. He has a number and can be reached. But it is as if his views as the head of the Iraq Awakening - an important Iraqi living an Iraqi reality - just don’t matter. How else to explain it?

Leave it then to the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya network to bother to ask al-Rishawi a single question. Below is a transcript of a three-minute phone call between the Saudi network and al-Rishawi, aired in Arabic by Al-Araibyah yesterday. [more]

From Iraq the Model, July 9th:
For a long time, when the government was very weak, Maliki and Rubaie (especially Rubaie) were clearly against the idea of setting timetables, at least in public. What has changed now is that these politicians have gone to the Ayatollah [Sistani] and told him that their domestic foes have been more or less neutralized and that they are ready to use these gains for the benefit of the sect.

What I am saying here is that the statement “we are strong” does not reflect the Iraq-US balance of power in terms of two states negotiating a deal. It reflects the presumed balance of power between Shiite faith (in its regional context) on the one hand and the US, Sunni Arabs and Kurds on the other.
[more]

Related: Neo-Neocon writes:
…for those who can’t stop writing about Obama. I take the first step, admitting that I have no power over my addiction, that my life has become unmanageable. [more]

UPDATED: Terry Ann reads that Spiegel interview and wonders at those remarks not so widely reported:
SPIEGEL: Mr. Prime Minister, the war and its consequences have cost more than 100,000 lives and caused great suffering in your country. Saddam Hussein and his regime are now part of the past. Was all of this worth the price?

Maliki: The casualties have been and continue to be enormous. But anyone who was familiar with the dictator's nature and his intentions knows what could have been in store for us instead of this war. Saddam waged wars against Iran and Kuwait, and against Iraqis in the north and south of his own country, wars in which hundreds of thousands died. And he was capable of instigating even more wars. Yes, the casualties are great, but I see our struggle as an enormous effort to avoid other such wars in the future.


Illustration originally commissioned by Business Age magazine, sometime towards the end of the last century.

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