Impotence in action
Watch him stand on his hind
Top Iraqi’s White House Visit Shows Gaps With U.S.
By EDWARD WONG
Published: July 25, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 24 — When Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki visits the White House on Tuesday for the first time, he is expected to make requests that clash sharply with President Bush’s foreign policy, Iraqi officials say, signaling a widening gap between the Iraqis and the Americans on crucial issues.
The requests will include asking President Bush to allow American-led troops in Iraq to be tried under Iraqi law, and to call for a halt to Israeli attacks on Lebanon, according to several Iraqi politicians, and to a senior member of Mr. Maliki’s party who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak for the prime minister.
Mr. Maliki is also expected to demand more autonomy for Iraqi forces, though he will not ask for a quick withdrawal of the 134,000 American troops here, the officials say.
The growing differences between Iraqi and American policies reflect an increasing disenchantment with American power among politicians and ordinary Iraqis, according to several politicians, academics and clerics. Sectarian violence has soared despite the presence of the Americans, and recent cases where American troops have been accused of killing civilians or raping Iraqi women have infuriated the public.
Mr. Maliki and other top Shiite leaders also want to maintain strong ties to Iran, whose influence is rising across the Middle East, officials say.
Mr. Maliki, who was installed in May, presides over a relatively weak government, divided among Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish blocs that oppose one another on important issues. There are even deep splits within the leading Shiite bloc and Mr. Maliki’s political party, Dawa.
To forge unity and win the confidence of the Iraqis, officials say, he has to take some stands that conflict with those of the White House, while relying on the American military to ward off the Sunni-led insurgency.
But in Washington, administration officials said they viewed Mr. Maliki’s public breaks with American policy positions as proof that he was his own man leading his own government, and was not a prop of the Americans.
So what happens when he doesn't get anything in return?
posted by Steve @ 2:23:00 AM