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Author:  Catherine [ Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:59 am ]

A Couple of Polarizers

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, January 10, 2007; A13

If any Americans could truly understand Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, George Bush and Karl Rove should. All three firmly believe that the successful politician must above all cultivate his base -- not that any of them can point to recent successes.

In refusing to do anything to curtail the anti-Sunni pogroms of Moqtada al-Sadr's legions, Maliki, after all, is just dancin' with the ones that brung him. He owes his office to Sadr. More broadly, he is the governmental leader of the Shiites at the very moment they and the Sunnis have embarked on a ghastly civil war. He is nominally also Iraq's prime minister, but if there was even a scintilla of doubt about the true object of his loyalties, it was dispelled by his execution of Saddam Hussein. Maliki is the prime minister of Shiite rage, a position that offers a good deal more security than that of dispassionate prime minister of a nation at war with itself.

Yet tonight, President Bush will announce that Maliki has changed. He will also announce that he is sending additional U.S. forces to Iraq, but he's done that before, in almost comparable numbers, to no good effect. What's different this time, we are to believe, is that the Iraqis will join us in trying to suppress the sectarian violence.

Maliki will order his forces to swarm Sadr City. He'll deploy Kurdish battalions throughout Baghdad, since Sunnis and Shiites aren't suited for the task (assuming, however improbably, that the Kurds want to hurl themselves into the middle of the Sunni-Shiite war).

Why Bush believes the Iraqi prime minister will actually do this is anybody's guess. For Maliki to cordon off Sadr City is a little like Bush blockading Southern Baptist churches, or surrounding the headquarters of the National Rifle Association and telling everyone to come out with hands up. Bush expects Maliki to turn against his own -- a gambit nowhere to be found in Bush and Rove's own political playbook.



Author:  Channel Zero [ Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:35 am ]
Post subject: 

I'd wish Maliki would make up his mind. Does he like the US or not?

Iraqi PM Lashes Out at U.S. Critics

QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA | August 22, 2007 09:57 AM EST | AP

DAMASCUS, Syria — Iraq's prime minister lashed out Wednesday at U.S. criticism, saying no one has the right to impose timetables on his elected government and that his country "can find friends elsewhere."

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blamed the U.S. presidential campaign for the recent tough words about his government, from President Bush and from other U.S. politicians.

Bush on Tuesday said he was frustrated with Iraqi leaders' inability to bridge political divisions. But he added that only the Iraqi people can decide whether to sideline al-Maliki.

"Clearly, the Iraqi government's got to do more," Bush said. "I think there's a certain level of frustration with the leadership in general, inability to work _ come together to get, for example, an oil revenue law passed or provincial elections."

Bush: Look it. We gave you freedom, didn't we. Bloodshed, but freedom. A civil war, but freedom. A massive reconstruction nightmare (which we will gladly finance on the American taxpayer dime), but freedom. How ungrateful can you all be?

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