Timetables, Horizons and al-Maliki

The Bush Administration is seeking clarification from the Iraqi government after German magazine Der Spiegel printed remarks from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki that appeared to support the position of Barack Obama on a sixteen month withdrawal timetable for American troops. Maliki seems to be pushing the Americans for some sort of exit strategy, and has even gotten President Bush to support a “general time horizon” for withdrawal of American troops. How is a “time horizon” different than a “timetable”? I am not sure but maybe John McCain can explain that in his next talk on Iraq. After pressure from the Bush Administration the Iraqi government did indeed issue a “clarification”, putting out a statement that Der Spiegel had botched the translation. But the New York Times quickly blew that explanation away.

But the interpreter for the interview works for Mr. Maliki’s office, not the magazine. And in an audio recording of Mr. Maliki’s interview that Der Spiegel provided to The New York Times, Mr. Maliki seemed to state a clear affinity for Mr. Obama’s position, bringing it up on his own in an answer to a general question on troop presence.

The following is a direct translation from the Arabic of Mr. Maliki’s comments by The Times: “Obama’s remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq.”

He continued: “Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.”

A top advisor to al Maliki talked of the domestic political discontent over the presence of foreign troops in Iraq.

“Foreign soldiers in the middle of the most populated areas are not without their side effects,” he said. “Shouldn’t we look to an end for this unhealthy situation?”

With Obama on a diplomatic tour of the region the al-Maliki comments had to have stung President Bush. And Iraqi discontent with foreign troops on a semi-permanent basis in Iraq is a political problem for the Iraqi Prime Minister. I find it stunning that the Iraqi political leadership is routinely lectured by American politicians about breaking partisan gridlock in Baghdad and showing political courage in the face of hostile public opinion. Do you think the Iraqis ever ask about the Washington situation in response? Read the New York Times story here.

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3 Responses to Timetables, Horizons and al-Maliki

  1. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    “With Obama on a diplomatic tour of the region the al-Maliki comments had to have stung President Bush.”

    That is NOT true, Obama is NOT on a diplomatic tour. He’s on a campaign tour to observe that which he is not familiar as suggested by Senator McCain.

    He has no business carrying on diplomatic negotiating with a foreign nation and holding news confrences with the Democratic Party news media.

    He should observe, listen and keep his mouth shut until he returns home.

    You are definitely slipping into Moonbat territory.

    Jules

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  2. Bill Manzi says:

    Wow, you really know how to hurt a guy! Moonbat? Another poster said I was drinking left wing Kool Aid. Well lets look at the facts here. However you describe the Obama foreign travel, as the presumptive nominee his views carry a little bit more weight than your average senator. However he is traveling with a couple of other senators, including Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska. Senator John McCain has visited Iraq on many occasions, including a tour with Senator Joe Lieberman, where Lieberman had to correct him on the difference between Shia and Sunni. And who can forget the memorable trip to a merchants bazaar to show how safe the streets in Baghdad had become, with McCain in a flack jacket surrounded by many soldiers with attack helicopters hovering overhead.
    Both nominees have been to Iraq on diplomatic tours, and I do not recall you saying that John McCain should keep his mouth shut.
    People sometimes say that “moonbats” are not in touch with reality. I submit that your post is not in touch with reality. You never addressed al-Maliki’s comments, and this morning the news appears to get worse from your perspective. The Iraqi government now says that withdrawal should be complete by 2010, eight months after the timetable (or is it a time horizon)called for by Obama. Jules, if the Iraqis do not want us there beyond a certain time frame why are we arguing? If al-Maliki thinks the Iraqis capable of providing their own security in 16 months is he a moonbat? We often do not put ourselves in the shoes of others. I can imagine the hatred we as a nation would have of the notion of foreign troops patrolling our streets and giving us orders. Why do you believe the Iraqis would be any different? No Jules it is not I that lacks being in touch with reality here.

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  3. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    I’m surprised you did not know that Left Wing Kool Aid is the far left drink of choice as in, “bar tender, Kool Aid drinks for my friends and I.”

    He does not have more weight than a normal senator on a fact finding trip. He went to “get the lay of the land”. He’s already made a speech here telling us what he will find.

    He cannot negotiate. Chuck Hagel? So what? Joe Leberman? So what?.

    Let’s compare idiotic remarks; two weeks ago, “the surge is NOT working”. Obama said this even though the left wing news paper, The new York Times, even admitted it worked.

    In two the years this campaign has dragged on, these guys are going to look stupid trying to look smart.

    Now let’s handle your “they want us out” observation.

    In an earlier post when you tried to make something of this issue, I wrote that is was a good thing that happened as they have slowly taken back control of their country. They seem confident of their abilities. We will have to eventually meet their demands.

    Question: is al-Maliki playing to the folks or does he really feel this way. You recognize the politics of it.

    Actually, your honor, you are embarrassed that the dupe in the white house (and by implication, John McCain) actually will historically be linked to ridding a suppressed people of a brutal dictator and bringing democracy to to a tribal.

    The truth is moonbats are living in a world with a different color sky.

    Now we watch the Obama dog and pony show strut around the world, listen to the masiah make his pronouncements and return home to your adulation.

    He should observe, listen and not interfere with the sitting president’s prerogatives no matter what he thinks of them.

    Jules

    Like

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