Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Iraqi PM Appeases Iranian President With Promises of Peace

Even as President Bush continues to use the remaining months of his presidency to saber-rattle against Iran, and as his two potential successors debate over whether bombs or diplomacy will solve all our problems, Iraq's prime minister has bad news... he may have to accept that we're indefinitely occupying his supposedly sovereign nation, but he draws the line at us blowing up his largest neighbor.

From a recent visit between the leaders of those two countries-
Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Sunday tried to allay Iranian fears over a planned U.S.-Iraq security pact, saying his government would not allow Iraq to become a launching pad for an attack on its neighbor.

"Iraq today doesn't present any threat as it used to be in the times of the former regime," al-Maliki told Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a Sunday meeting between two leaders, according to a statement from the prime minister's office.

"Today's Iraq is a constitutional state based on the rule of law, and it seeks to develop its relations with the regional countries based on cooperation and mutual respect," al-Maliki said...

On some level, of course, Maliki knows that we make the decisions in Iraq, and he may even be fine with that to some degree. But I do believe this is where he draws the line. We could never launch any (successful) attack on Iran without the approval of Iraq, and we will never get that. That is why I am less worried than some liberals about the possibility of war with Iran before the Bush years end. A McCain presidency will heighten those concerns, of course.

And despite retroactively justifying the war in Iraq based on a push for Middle East democracy, the fact is that most conservatives secretly hate al-Maliki (not that he's an upstanding leader, but that's neither here nor there) and find the democratic particulars of Iraq to be boring and irrelevant. You even have prominent conservative journalists reminiscising about their favorite old dictators like Augusto Pinochet and hoping someday we can put such a thug in charge of Iraq (until 20 years later, when he becomes a nuisance, then we'll invade again to remove him). Pesky facts like how the vast majority of Iraqis want the U.S. to withdraw or are opposed to a military attack on Iran don't exist in that world. Acting tough is all that matters, consequences be damned.

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"It all goes—it all goes back to appeasement... energized, legitimated. It's the exact same thing."

[Related reading: Immunity for private guards in Iraq a sticking point: US (AFP)]

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