Friday, October 27, 2006

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki gave an interview to Reuters yesterday. Here are a couple of extracts.

On who controls Iraq's security forces:
They [the Americans] think building Iraqi forces will need 12 to 18 months for us to be in control of security. We agree our forces need work but think that if, as we are asking, the rebuilding of our forces was in our own hands, then it would take not 12-18 months but six might be enough.
If anyone is responsible for the poor security situation in Iraq it is the Coalition. I am now prime minister and overall commander of the armed forces yet I cannot move a single company without Coalition approval because of the U.N. mandate.
On the recent raid on Sadr city:
There is also the way they go after people. The first time they tried to get Abu Deraa they killed and wounded 17 people and demolished two houses (and) they did not arrest him in either operation. I said we agree on arresting wanted criminals and we do not care whether they are Sunnis or Shi'ites, but that was not an arrest operation. Do you send in planes to arrest one person? There is no problem with the principle of arresting criminals but you should not harm people in the way you go to arrest people, spreading horror and at the risk of sabotaging political actions we have worked on.
I wonder how the people of the U.S. would feel if "arrest operations" of that sort were carried out in their own communities? How would you feel?

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