Maliki to Bush/McCain: Am I Making Myself Clear Now?
To build off my piece today about how Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki’s call for a U.S. withdrawal along the lines of Sen. Barack Obama’s proposal lands a body blow to Bush and McCain: the Washington Post reports that Maliki is leaving absolutely no doubt that Der Spiegel magazine quoted him accurately, despite the White House pressure to get him to backtrack.
But by Monday, Maliki’s office had posted on its Web site the Arabic version of the Der Spiegel interview. It was clear that Maliki, without prompting, expressed support for Obama’s position.
“Obama’s remarks that, if he takes office, he would withdraw the forces within 16 months, we think that this period might increase or decrease a little, but that it might be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq,” Maliki said, according to a translation by The Washington Post.
Nor is it at all unclear what that means.
“Obama is closer to Iraqi opinion on the issue of withdrawal of U.S. forces,” said Ali al-Adeeb, a top official in Maliki’s Dawa party. “We don’t know him personally, but we like his opinion and his calls to set a timetable to withdraw forces.”