Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Who Decides?

This is a second post on President Bush's unannounced visit to Iraq and it may make more sense if you read the first one, er, first.

Iraq's new prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has had some successes on the political front. Last week, amid the deluge of stories about the death of Zarqawi, he appointed the final members of his cabinet. What with one thing and another, I've not had time to look into this fully but it seems that he's managed to find a reasonably unaffiliated Interior Minister; Jawad Kadem al-Bolani.

The Interior Ministry is widely believed to be heavily infiltrated by members of the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the SCIRI and the SCIRI were, of course, running the Ministry until recently. It is some cause for concern that the SCIRI "was central in pushing his [Bolani's] candidacy".

Nevertheless, "of 198 deputies present in the 275-seat assembly, 182 voted for Mr Bolani". That strongly suggests that Sunni politicians do not believe Mr Bolani is too close to the SCIRI. Bolani has a huge task ahead of him if he is to rein in the militias but it does appear that he may at least be prepared to try.

The last thing Maliki needed, just as a small ray of hope began to hint at its existence, was an unannounced visit by President Bush. "Thank you for having me" Bush told the Prime Minister. As if he'd had a choice.

Maliki, who has over 100,000 well equipped and heavily armed reasons to be diplomatic towards Bush, was so. He was neverthless also determined not to look a complete muppet. He said (through a translator) that Iraq was "determined to succeed, and we have to defeat terrorists and defeat all the hardships". He went on:
God willing, all the suffering will be over. And all the soldiers will return to their country with our gratitude for what they have offered, the sacrifice
That statement, diplomatic though it may be, is clear enough. The Iraqi Prime Minister wants all the foreign soldiers to return to their countries in due course. He does not want permanent US military bases to be built on Iraqi soil. Furthermore, he believes that it is important for his government to make clear that it considers the presence of foreign troops to be a temporary state of affairs.

He's trying to combat assertions like this:
While US President George Bush disclosed the US plan to keep Iraq permanently occupied by a force of about 50.000 troops, to be deployed in a series of permanent US military bases, Moqtada al-Sader's followers organized a demonstration in northern Baghdad against the visit of George Bush.
A permanent US military presence in Iraq would be unacceptable to many, possibly even most Iraqis and the idea that Iraq is under "occupation" by the US is a powerful one. Maliki is attempting to fight this assertion by making it clear that he expects the US troops to leave at an appropriate time. All of them.

I presume then that the Bush administration, proud of the sovereign democratic government of Iraq as it is, will respect this decision by Iraq's Prime Minister and make a statement confirming that all US troops will be withdrawn at a suitable time, something they have singularly failed to do up till now. Furthermore, I expect that their statement will make it clear that there are no permanent US military bases under construction in Iraq and that, in keeping with the wishes of Iraq's Prime Minister, they do not intend build any.


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Learson said...
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CuriousHamster said...

Learson, I find your comment unhelpful and unpleasant.

The Israeli government has adopted many policies I strongly disagree with, and there is a strong relationship between Washington and the Israeli govt, but Bush does not take orders from his "neo-con Jewish masters".

And your "diseased mentality..." comment is particularly distasteful. I'd like to make it clear that I do not support the sort of racial profiling you seem to be advocating.