No Permanent Bases Deal? A Withdrawal Timetable? Is The World Making Sense For A Change?
Nouri al-Maliki sent hints that he actually wants a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. I was… skeptical. Now the permanent national-security adviser, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie (has anyone else noticed he’s been in his position *for the last three premiers? *Who’s paying his salary, huh?), says something definitive:
“There should not be any permanent bases in Iraq unless these bases are under Iraqi control,” Rubaie said. “We would not accept any memorandum of understanding with [the U.S.] side that has no obvious and specific dates for the foreign troops’ withdrawal from Iraq.”
What in the world? Could this actually be the end of the permanent-occupation deal? Who put something in my drink?
I don’t know. We’ll see. Stuff like this has a tendency to get walked back. But The Washington Post reports that Rubaie, a Shiite, issued his comment after meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the highest Shiite religious authority in Iraq. And according to this Iranian news story, Sistani has had it up to here with Maliki’s flirtations with a permanent occupation:
The usual caveats apply about the veracity of Iranian news organizations, but at least this makes sense.