Tuesday, 22 July 2008

“Let’s squeeze them”

George Packer of The New Yorker comments today on Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki’s reported remarks regarding Obama and withdrawal, looking at it not just in terms of the politics between Shia parties, but also the implications for Sunnis.

Along the way he touches on how the surge encouraged Sunni shifts in allegiance away from the insurgency, something I felt was ignored in an earlier opinion piece he wrote for the magazine. Details in my earlier post: Obama’s Iraq Problem.

Also on George Packer, Martin in the Margins posted a review yesterday of his book, The Assassins Gate: America in Iraq

On Iraqi PM Maliki, see also this piece from Robert H Reid of AP last Sunday:

Analysis: Iraq playing US politics for best deal
The Iraqi prime minister's seeming endorsement of Barack Obama's troop withdrawal plan is part of Baghdad's strategy to play U.S. politics for the best deal possible over America's military mission.

The goal is not necessarily to push out the Americans quickly, but instead give Iraqis a major voice in how long U.S. troops stay and what they will do while still there.

[...]

With the talks bogged down, the Iraqis sensed desperation by the Americans to wrap up a deal quickly before the presidential campaign was in full swing.

“Let's squeeze them,” al-Maliki told his advisers, who related the conversation to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Follow up post: “Let’s squeeze them” 2 

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