Wednesday, December 29, 2010
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Iraqi Prime Minister made no bones about the fact he wants US troops out of the country completely by the end of 2011, exactly as agreed.
"The last American soldier will leave Iraq" as agreed, he said, speaking at his office in a leafy section of Baghdad's protected Green Zone. "This agreement is not subject to extension, not subject to alteration. It is sealed."
According to the interviewer, Maliki went to some pains to say that he doesn't plan to let Iraq align with Iran either. Since Maliki is only Prime minister after an extremely questionable election and is relying on Iranian proxy Moqtada al-Sadr and the Shi'ite Bloc to stay in power, I'll be kind and say that last part is going to be difficult for Maliki to pull off even if he wants to - which I doubt.
After all, Maliki spent the Saddam years as a guest of the mullahs.
According to the interviewer, Maliki laughed out loud when he was told that U.S. Ambassador James F. Jeffrey keeps a frayed copy of the so-called Strategic Framework Agreement in his briefcase which calls for long-term cooperation in security, defense, economy, energy and culture, among other areas.
I can well believe it.
It's hard to fault Maliki for laughing, really. President Bush's frequently stated war goals in Iraq were to have a stable Iraq who would be democratic and an ally of ours in the so-called 'war on terror.' The goals themselves were absolutely farcical in terms of the reality on the ground and what our actual war aims should have been, and even at that we have only barely accomplished one out of three, stability. And it cost us 4,000 lives and a trillion dollars, much of which was wasted or stolen.
In the end, we didn't even wind up with the oil. The leases on the oil fields Halliburton was miraculously able to save after Saddam set them on fire went to China.
To repeat what I said more than two years ago, General Petraeus, his successor General Ordiano and our warriors achieved an amazing victory in defeating an in-country insurgency backed by unfriendly states to the east and north that acted as havens, bases and transit areas for our enemies.
That said, what their valiant achievement accomplished(aside from sending a notable number of jihadis to their just desserts and putting a fighting edge on our army) was to put the best possible face on a bad situation and allow America a graceful exit.
Now, even that victory has been wasted. President Obama's weakness, his failure to confront Iran and his obvious desire for the hastiest possible departure of US forces has ensured that Iraq will fall into the Iranian axis as soon as we leave.
Maliki, like the creature of the region he is is simply doing what comes naturally and gravitating towards wha the perceives as the strong horse. If we're not seen as that strong horse, the fault doesn't lie with Maliki.
The Iraq we established at such a cost is a Shiite Islamic Republic based on Sharia with a great deal of its leadership friendly to our enemies in Iran. It will no more be a 'ally ' of ours against our enemies than say, Saudi Arabia or Yemen and will limit their 'war on terror' activities to simply suppressing any dissident elements in their own society.
Res ipsa loquiter.