Tag Archives: Maliki

Iraq Prime Minister Wants Withdrawal Timetable

Prime Minister Maliki said his government wants to conclude an agreement with the United States of America pertaining to complete assumption of power by Iraq and a timetable indicating the process by which American troops would leave his nation. He is under pressure from many Iraqi lawmakers who want foreigners out of their country and full power to be vested in the Iraq government for the administration of the nation. Maliki told a gathering of Arab ambassadors “the goal is to end the presence of foreign troops” in his country.

The UN mandate for operations in Iraq will expire by the end of the year and some form of agreement has to be reached with the Iraq government in order for troops to continue their operations. There is some feeling Maliki will bypass the legislature and sign a memorandum of understanding with the Bush administration. This would avoid a difficult parliamentary fight. Admiral Mullen has made clear he needs some legal arrangement “to continue operations beyond the 31st of December of this year.”

Iraq Prime Minister Wants Withdrawal Timetable

Prime Minister Maliki said his government wants to conclude an agreement with the United States of America pertaining to complete assumption of power by Iraq and a timetable indicating the process by which American troops would leave his nation. He is under pressure from many Iraqi lawmakers who want foreigners out of their country and full power to be vested in the Iraq government for the administration of the nation. Maliki told a gathering of Arab ambassadors “the goal is to end the presence of foreign troops” in his country.

The UN mandate for operations in Iraq will expire by the end of the year and some form of agreement has to be reached with the Iraq government in order for troops to continue their operations. There is some feeling Maliki will bypass the legislature and sign a memorandum of understanding with the Bush administration. This would avoid a difficult parliamentary fight. Admiral Mullen has made clear he needs some legal arrangement “to continue operations beyond the 31st of December of this year.”

Iraq Government Moves To Assert Control

The Iraq government continues its efforts to assert control over areas of southern Iraq by moving its forces into the city of Amara. The conflict between the cleric al-Sadr and the Maliki government at some point may become more violent, but for the present the Muslim cleric is biding his time before revealing what his future endeavor to gain control will entail. Iraq troops found large caches of weapons, which allegedly came from Iranian sources, but no one has been able to provide proof.

Iraq may well be witnessing a shift in tactics by al-Sadr who may decide the political arena will be the focus of his future course of action. Bush administration officials interpret the current lowering of violence as evidence of success of the surge. However, suicide bombers continue to function, and al-Qaida may well be revamping its tactics.

Bush “Apologizes” Over Koran Shooting

The furor over an American soldier’s decision make a copy of the Koran the focus of his target practice has aroused a storm of protest throoughout the Muslim world. President Bush supposdly in a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Maliki apologized on behalf of the American people for the incident and promised to prosecute the soldier in a court of law. Iraqi government spokesperson, Ali al-Dabbagh, said the president’s apology was not sufficient. “We need to try this soldier since he committed a grievous crime. This is what the Iraqi government wants. It is not satisfied with just an apology.” The US Embassy said in his call, Bush, expresed his deep concern over the “completely unacceptable conduct of an American soldieer.”

At one point during the day, a White House spokesperson claimed the president did not apologize, but merely expressed his “concern.” In either respect it is apparent the Iraqi government wants to try the soldier.

No president can allow an American soldier to be tried by a government ruled by clerics who decide what is or what is not a law.

Does US Have Case Of Iranphobia?

The Iranian government accused US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of “Iranphobia” for trying to blame Tehran for problems in Iraq. Secretary Rice has promised to press Iraq’s Arab neighbors to take an aggressive stance against Iran for supposedly interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq. Iran’s Foreign Minister spokesperson, Mohammed Ali Hosseini told reporters “We see the developments in Iraq today are the outcome of the US administration’s illogical policies. The American officials want to externalize the problems they are facing inside Iraq.” The United States insists Iran is funding terrorist groups and wants other nations to help end this aid. Iran argues they also want other Arab nations to assist the Shiite Iraq government of Prime Minister Maliki to fight Sunni militants.

In reality, both Iran and the United States have been actively assisting forces in Iraq to engage in fighting. Naturally, the United States claims those it aids are the “good guys” and those aided by the Iranians are the “bad guys.” One problem is the close relationship between Iran and the Maliki government. If the two nations have such excellent relations, why would Iran attempt to overthrow its ally?

Did Bush Speak Too Quickly On “Defining Moment?”

Rockets fall int he Green Zone, machine gun fire can still be heard in Basra, and the only reason relative calm is found in that war-torn city is due to the decision by Muqtada al-Sadr to issue a cease fire order to his troops. President Bush claimed the fight in Basra was a “defining moment” for the gvernment of Prime Minister Maliki. Maliki promised to crush criminal elements in Basra, but the real person calling the shots is al-Sadr. John McCain, who met with Maliki during his recent visit to Iraq, expressed “surprise” at the attempt to crush al-Sadr in Basra. According to latest figures about 1,247 Iraqis died in recent fighting including civilians as well as militants.

Where does Maliki go from here? The military approach which is favored so strongly by Bush is not working in Iraq. Al-Sadr will have to be recognized as an important force in Iraq politics. Maliki can boast his troops are in Basra, but he can not claim to have complete control of the city. If al-Sadr ends the cease fire, the chaos which has characterized Iraq will continue. The only defining moment is when all political parties in Iraq work together for peace.

Iraq Government Offense In Basra Stalls

The Iraq army’s offensive against the Shiite militia of Muqtada al-Sadr apparently has stalled in its efforts to dislodge them from positions in Basra. The American military expected the Iraq army offense to demonstrate the success of US training efforts and make clear the government of Prime Minister Maliki was in control of the country. Instead of being a show of strength, the assault has encountered fierce opposition from opponents. Saboteurs blew up one of the two main oil export pipelines near Basra and cut by one-third exports of crude oil. In Baghdad, tens of thousands of supporters of al-Sadr marched through the streets shouting anti-Maliki slogans. “We demand the downfall of the Maliki government,” said Hussein Abu Ali, a demonstrator, “it does not reprsent the people. It represents Bush and Cheney.”

The main bastion of al-Sadr supporters is Sadr City which contains about two milliion people and the densely packed slum area has been sealed off by US troops. People are trapped inside without adqequate food, water, and electricity. In Basra, the Iraq army has cordoned off several districts but has failed in its attempt to dislodge Mahdi militia. The Iraq government says at least 51 are dead and hundeds wouonded as a result of the fighting.

President Bush offered congragulations to the Maliki government saying it faces a “tough battle against militia fighters and criminals.” The Iraq force of 15,000 soldiers and police is certainly insufficient to handle an area of two miillion people. At some point, the Maliki government will have to switch its efforts to the political arena since further military action is only bound to exacerbate the situation.

Fighting Rages In Iraq-Is The Surge Working?

Senator John McCain and Vice President Dick Cheney informed America after their recent trips to Iraq about the success of the Bush surge and that Iraq was headed for a final victory over exremists. Yesterday, Iraq’s Prime Minister was in the Basra area supervising efforts by the Iraq army to quell violence which has erupted in the oil rich area. He issued a three day deadline for Shiite militia to lay down their arms as groups fought over who would control the city. At least 55 are dead and over 300 wounded as fighting escalates between rival groups seeking to impose their will on the city. General Kevin Bergner of the US army noted: “This has been a difficult and challenging few days” for the Iraqi government.

The violence raises fears that radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr will end his unilateral cease fire and unleash his Mahdi army in a new outburst of violence which can only add greater strains on the Iraq government’s efforts to handle al-Qaeda forces. There are reports al-Sadr sent representatives who are askng Prime Minister Maliki to leave the Basra area and that no negotiation would take place until Iraq army forces cease their action against Shiite militias. The Sadr militia is angry at recent raids conducted by US forces and the Iraq army against them while they were obiding by the cease fire.

The Iraq government issued a rather interesting statement to the populace. “This is not a battle against the Mahdi army not is it a proxy war between the United States and Iran. It is the government of Iraq taking the necessary action to deal with criminals on the streets.”

Meanwhile in Baghdad mortar and rocket attacks hit the Green Zone and caused the death of at least one American. One assumes that Senator McCain will not be walking the streets of Baghdad claiming peace has been restored to the capital due to the surge.