Sunday, June 17, 2007


Nouri al-Maliki was interviewed by Newsweek Friday (link, other link) .

He claimed that the people who attacked the Shiite Samarra mosque would probably also go after Sunni mosques in order to provoke rioting. Sure they would. He took credit for the relative lack of sectarian violence in the aftermath of this week’s attack, due to the “quick and wise reaction” of his government.

He said of the parade of American officials coming to pressure him this week that “Iraq is an Arab country and it is an Arab tradition to welcome guests, so, everyone is welcome to Iraq,” and would they please stop using the word pressure, he really doesn’t like that. And it’s not even necessary because “I am the person who most believes in national reconciliation.” He says he needs more time so that his work will be “written in stone.” That does tend to slow down the steno pool.

Evidently, every time he and Bush speak, they try to one-up each other by denouncing their respective elected legislatures: “Every time I meet President Bush through the videoconference I tell him that I have a hard time dealing with the Parliament or the political blocs. He says, ‘I have a worse time dealing with the Congress.’ And when he says, ‘I have aggravation in the Congress,’ I say, ‘I have bigger aggravation with parliament.’” They do this for hours. Good times, good times.

Maliki denounced the new US policy of arming Sunni sheiks slash warlords slash death squads in Anbar, saying “I believe that the Coalition forces do not know the backgrounds of the tribes” and “They make mistakes by arming tribes sometimes, and this is dangerous because this will create new militias.” I wondered how long it would take him to respond publicly to the news that the US was supporting military forces not subordinate to the central government. And then only to an American magazine.

He described the American invasion and occupation of Iraq in this way: “Destiny wanted to bring together two people who strongly stick to their principles.” Destiny has a sick sense of humor.

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