This friend is nothing to boast about...
I am talking of course about Senator Obama's recent semi-endorsement by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki this week in Der Speigel, a German Newspaper.
You may hear from the Obama campaign that a semi-endorsement by al-Maliki is a true triumph of Obama's international appeal and a show of his foreign policy prowess.. those statements are wrong. Flat out wrong. The withdrawal plan Obama has been talking about for the past.. year or two seems like a pretty good idea.. until you get an endorsement on it from al-Maliki. Why my change of opinion on the plan? The endorsement.
Which leads to the question: Is Al-Maliki really that bad?
Simple Answer: Yes.
More complicated answer: Propping up and promoting PM Nour Al-Maliki is perhaps the one of the biggest mistakes of this Bush Administration. Now it seems natural for the Bush Administration in their simple-mindedness to take a Shi'ite to head the government.. but obviously beyond that fact they didn't do any vetting or research. This man LIVES for Iran and a united Shi'ite front of Persians (Iranians) and Arabs (Iraqis). He is only glad to see US troops getting out of the country because it will mean he will have more latitude and freedom in the targeted killing of Sunnis all in the name of the War on Terror and battling Al-Qaeda.
His power base comes mostly from Shi'ite clerics like Moqtada al-Sadr and al-Sistani who are very clear that they wish Iraq to be a nation for Shi'ites and Shi'ites ONLY. This kind of political alignment is hardly a testament to good will, political reconciliation or national unity.
Furthermore, you cannot trust this man any further than you can throw a dozen used car salesmen. He'll say anything to stay in power and keep international aid money coming his way. That aid money.. mostly goes to pad his and his cronies pockets and as much as 70% of arms bought "for the Iraqi National Army" in fact find their ways to militias run by his Shi'ite thug friends. Sure, he puts on a show every now and then to prove he's actually 'tough' on these militia criminals but in fact every time the outcome is the same, a 'truce' is announced and back to the status quo they go!
Well, I would hate to just rant and demolsih on al-Maliki, as I just did, for too long.. I should probably conserve some energy to spend on offering solutions. (I know, I know.. typical political bloggers and pundits are just suppose to whine without giving alternatives or solutions.. but I'm not your typical political enthusiast)
Solution(s): According to the Obama website, Sen. Obama's plan is basically two movements at once: combat troops out in 16 months, political pressure up to push progress. Instead Obama should focus on a series of benchmarks and goals to remove troops at varying speeds from differing areas depending on the political progress of his "diplomatic surge." The quick removal of troops is not exactly going to ratchet up the pressure on a government whose Interior Ministry basically exists to send out death squads and then protect them as government employees. It is Barack Obama's goal to "end the war" as soon as he is elected but instead taking a page out of this Bush Administration's book by blindly trying to do that, he should direct the military leaders on the ground there of his intentions to begin the removal of all non-essential combat troops and reserves and then listen to where from and when to remove them. The US needs to have a strong presence in the Iraq in order to at least slow down the total influence of Iranian politics on the Iraqi government.
Remember Barack, what this nation needs is a change of politics not just a change of policy.
Link: Original Article about Al-Maliki's Endorsement of the Obama plan - Der Speigel
Link: Analysis of Al-Maliki's Comments to Der Speigel - CNN