Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived here on Thursday intending to press Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq to move faster on Sunni-Shiite reconciliation at a moment when Mr. Maliki’s ability to deliver appears limited, at best.
Mr. Gates told reporters he would press the government to pass laws on oil revenue sharing and rolling back purges of Sunni Arabs from the government.
The above is from David S. Cloud, Alissa J. Rubin and Edward Wong's "Gates Presses Iraq Premier on Healing Sectarian Divide" in this morning's New York Times. Now put aside that Gates is stomping his foot (like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinnie) and going on about how his bully clock is ticking. What are we left with?
Why is in he Baghdad? He gives two reasons. Roll back purges is offered but first up is the oil law. That would be privatizing Iraq's oil and allowing big business (foreign) a bigger slice of the profits than Iraq. Gates represents an administration that's a bit like an arsonist who moonlights a fire fighter but isn't about to rescue you until you pay out.
Martha notes Bill Brubaker's "Army General Says Security in Baghdad Has Lost Traction" (Washington Post):
Recalling the recent attacks on the heavily fortified Green Zone, Army Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero predicted more violent, high-profile incidents.
"The Green Zone and predominately Shi'a areas remain extremely high priority targets both physically and symbolically for an adaptive, ruthless and thinking enemy looking to make headlines and undermine stability," said Barbero, the deputy director of operations for the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff. "We can expect this enemy to use every means at his disposal, no matter how brutal, to attempt further high profile attacks."
Martha wanted this noted because of the use of the term "Green Zone." Everyone calls it the Green Zone. It's only Alissa J. Rubin, doing someone's bidding, that insists upon calling it the "International Zone."
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