Iraq's Shiite-led government offered only a grudging endorsement on Thursday of President Bush’s proposal to deploy more than 20,000 additional troops in an effort to curb sectarian violence and regain control of Baghdad. The tepid response immediately raised questions about whether the government would make a good-faith effort to prosecute the new war plan.
The Iraqi leader, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, failed to appear at a news conference and avoided any public comment. He left the government's response to an official spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, who gave what amounted to a backhanded approval of the troop increase and emphasized that Iraqis, not Americans, would set the future course in the war.
[. . .]
While senior officials in Washington have presented the new war plan as an American adaptation of proposals that were first put to Mr. Bush by Mr. Maliki when the two men met in the Jordanian capital of Amman in November, the picture that is emerging in Baghdad is quite different. What Mr. Maliki wanted, his officials say, was in at least one crucial respect the opposite of what Mr. Bush decided: a lowering of the American profile in the war, not the increase Mr. Bush has ordered.
These Iraqi officials say Mr. Maliki, in the wake of Mr. Bush's setback in the Democratic sweep in November's midterm elections, demanded that American troops be pulled back to the periphery of Baghdad and that the war in the capital, at least, be handed to Iraqi troops. The demand was part of a broader impatience among the ruling Shiites to be relieved from American oversight so as to be able to fight and govern according to the dictates of Shiite politics, not according to strictures from Washington.
The above is from John F. Burns and Sabrina Tavernise's "In Baghdad, Bush Policy Is Met With Resentment" in this morning's New York Times as they continue to refute the notion, promoted by the administration, that the Iraqi government desired an increase in the number of US forces on the ground in Iraq. For the reaction of Iraqis, Lloyd notes Joshua Partlow and Robin Wright's "Bush's Shift in Strategy Gets Dubious Reception On Streets of Baghdad" (Washington Post):
From the men drinking lemon tea in cafes to the politicians fighting to strengthen their fledgling government, Baghdad residents greeted President Bush's announcement of a shift in Iraq strategy with a skepticism born of nearly four years of war.
To many, the crux of Iraq's intractable problem is whether the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki -- installed as Shiite Muslims were emerging from oppression under Saddam Hussein to become the country's ruling majority -- can rise above deep sectarian rivalry and protect Iraqi neighborhoods equitably, even in the face of catastrophic insurgent attacks by Sunni Arabs.
"The main reason for what's taking place in Iraq is the settlement of historical paybacks," said Faiz Botros, 50, an Iraqi Christian sitting at a sidewalk table Thursday as car horns blared along a street in central Baghdad. "Neither 20,000 soldiers, nor 100,000, nor hundreds of thousands, will change anything. In Iraq, the politicians are still living in a mentality from 1,400 years ago. And this is the disaster of Iraq."
Today on KPFA's The Morning Show, 7:00 to 9:00 am PST, Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn are scheduled to be on. Together they've written Voices of a People's History of the United States. Arnove has also written Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal which is now out in paperback:
Now available, the updated paperback edition of
Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal
Anthony Arnove, with a foreword by Howard Zinn
Metropolitan Books / American Empire Project Series
"An urgent book."--Arundhati Roy
"A powerful and compelling argument on behalf of withdrawal from Iraq."--Ron Kovic "Anthony Arnove's analysis of the reasons for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Iraq is brilliant."--Cindy Sheehan
"A book that every American, regardless of political viewpoint, should read."--Richard Falk
"A compelling brief against America's new imperial venture."--Frances Fox Piven
"Conventional wisdom keeps saying there are no good options, but Arnove's analysis suggests a way out of the misery."--Chicago Reader
"A rigorous analysis of the American occupation."--Mahmood Mamdani
"An impassioned, unflinching case for immediate U.S. withdrawal. Read this book and bring the troops home now."--Eve Ensler
Catch the author at the following events:
January 17, 7 pm,
New York, NY (with Michael Schwartz)
January 20, 7 pm,
Chicago, IL (with Jeff Engelhardt)
University of Illinois-Chicago
Contact: Adam Turl, 773-567-0936,
January 27, 5 pm,
Washington, DC (with Kelly Dougherty)
Busboys and Poets
February 1, 7:30 pm, Pasadena, CAVoices of a People's History of the United States with Mark Ruffalo, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Benjamin Bratt, Marisa Tomei, Josh Brolin, and Alfre Woodard.
All Saints Episcopal Churchhttp://www.icujp.org
Published by Metropolitan Books / American Empire Project Series
Available from bookstores and online from
*Barnes and Noble.com
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org and if this feels like a link-fest, it is. My stomach's killing me this morning. Sorry.
the new york times
john b. burns
the morning show
the washington post