Wednesday, August 27, 2008

National(ist) pressure making Maliki keep up the sham about "withdrawal"

Here's the way an op-ed writer at the Kuwaiti paper AlQabas, Zahir al-Dujaili by name, explains the confusing yes/no pattern of Iraqi assertions of a withdrawal-schedule followed inevitably by the US denial, something he says has become a topic of sarcasm among Iraqis outside the GreenZone.
Political observers attribute this [yes/no pattern] to the fact that the Iraqi government is going through a difficult period, which threatens the complete alienation of the Iraqi street from the government. The government faces national (or nationalist: wataniy) pressure from growing popular forces that demand it place a light at the end of the tunnel and defining the exit of the occupation forces from the country. Because as long as the government is saying it is capable of keeping law and order, the nationalist forces are saying to the government: Then why do you not agree with the occupier on a time-schedule that will free the country from foreign domination?
It is in response to this intense pressure that the Maliki administration continues to make these would-be reassuring statements about agreement with the occupier. And, the writer adds:
Of course this political fraud is completely unacceptable to the American negotiators who are still studying proposals that the Maliki government is trying to make out to be agreements.

I met two days ago a senior adviser who works in the GreenZone with the American forces and I asked him directly a question to settle this confusing debate about the agreement: Do you think the occupation authority has agreed with the government on a fixed date for withdrawal and will that be included in the agreement?

He replied smiling: What people are saying to you is completely wrong. The American army will not withdraw from Iraq. It will remain in many different forms. It will not bind itself to a fixed date for withdrawal, nor to the desires of Maliki and his government. And there will not be a crisis of separation [either], because of all the people on the face of the earth it is the Iraqi authorities are the most in need of the forces of occupation. They are between a people who want the withdrawal [of the occupation] and an ally who wants to remain, and Washington understands the dosage [or the medicine] for this disease.
h/t Ladybird of


Blogger Bruno said...

I don't believe in the Maliki line either. But, there is the chance that he thinks he no longer needs the Americans and wants to go it alone. It's a possibility.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to be 'tireless' again(!), Badger, as you are well aware, and Bruno should be too, the crucial phrase in the story is:

I met two days ago a senior adviser who works in the GreenZone with the American forces

There is every sign that Americans in the Green Zone really do believe that Maliki is playing chicken, that is, just going to the limit to get the best conditions out of the US that he can (but will then sign). And consequently his nationalism is a 'sham', as in this story.

We had the same on Abu Aardvark a couple of days ago, though in that case it was a 'senior US diplomat' who privily communicated this information to Marc Lynch.

I wasn't certain then that the US officials in the Green Zone really believe the 'chicken' theory. After all, they could be simply putting up a front in public, and they do in fact correctly understand the situation. But this story adds to the signs that they really do believe the 'chicken' theory and are way off base.

The truth, for those of your readers who haven't seen others of my ramblings, is pretty certainly "orders from Najaf". I don't believe Maliki is personally capable of playing chicken.

1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex is right about the American atitude, and half right about al-Maliki.

The whole business of a puppet regime is that it relies on the occupiers to survive, so it will want it to continue. But this time the setup is not working because Maliki has multiple masters and has to be a fulltime juggler.

Left alone Maliki would want the occupation to continue. He signed the Memorandum last year which offers occupation-plus. But the forces against have won, so his insistance is not a sham, it is for real.

A large section of the US allies say that there is no point in signing any deal with Bush. The next adminstration is not obliged to follow it as it would not be ratified by Congress. This means that the UN mandate would be extended for one more year.

Sistani initially supported the US occupation as a means to save the Shiite from what they consider to be historic injustice against them but he has now concluded that the corruption and poor performance of the Shiite rule threatens the very survival of the Najaf authority. He now definitely wants the US out and Maliki has no choice but to agree.

The Iraqi nationalists are now the biggest force in parliament and they can unseat Maliki or at least cripple his legislations, as has been hapening already. Sadr and the Sunnis have also offered to keep Maliki in power if he gets rid of the Americans.

Iran wanted the US occupation at first, but has recently changed its mind because of the growth of anti-Iran forces in Iraq, like the Awakening and the Nationalists. Maliki has to listen to Iran too.

2:57 AM  

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