Saturday, July 04, 2009

Biden in Iraq


Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Baghdad on Thursday. He continued his visit yesterday and continues it today. Above is a White House photo by David Lienemann.

Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reports, "Vice President Joe Biden's mission to promote national reconciliation in Iraq was rebuffed Friday by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, who told him that the issue was a domestic Iraqi affair and that U.S involvement wouldn't be welcome." US involvement wouldn't be welcome . . . but Nouri's happy to have the involvement of US forces on the ground in Iraq because otherwise he would be overthrown. That involvement he's all for. An Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy offers her take here. Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "Biden Warns Iraq Leaders Of Return to Ethnic Fights" (New York Times) notes:

But in private, officials said, Mr. Biden's tone was more direct. One official said the vice president made it clear that if Iraq returned to ethnic violence, the United States would be unlikely to remain engaged, "because one, the American people would have no interest in doing that, and as he put it, neither would he or the president."

Stolberg also notes Iraqi forces arriving with an arrest warrant at the wedding of a bodyguard for Sunni v.p. Tariq al-Hashimi and turning it into a blood bath with four dead. Mike Tharp (McClatchy Newspapers) focuses on the political:

Some Iraqis suggested that the vice president's message of reconciliation among political parties and religious factions was at odds with his call for "decentralization" in 2006.
As recently as the presidential campaign last September, Biden didn't back away from that position. "They may not want to call it what I was talking about," he told reporters in Montana. "But the end result is, there is a lot of autonomy in the Anbar province today. There is a lot of autonomy up in the Kurdish area today. And there is increasing autonomy in the Shia regions."
Haider al Mosawi, a political analyst, said that the vice president "was here to see whether Iraqis can reconcile in the absence of Americans or he can submit his old project again if it isn't useful to support reconciliation forever."

Online at the New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg covers some of today's events:

Mr. Biden, along with President Obama, campaigned on a platform of ending the Iraq war. He said Saturday that the United States was "on track" to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, as Mr. Obama has promised. He made note of the cost of the war: 4,322 troops killed, more than 30,000 wounded, 17,000 critically injured. Yet despite the plans for withdrawal, the setting for the ceremony was a reminder of how much the United States remained an occupying force.
The swearing-in took place in the soaring rotunda of Al Faw Palace, one of Saddam Hussein's more glorious marble monuments to himself. Its crystal chandelier alone is a sight to behold -- a giant sparkling orb, surrounded by 16 smaller chandeliers, evoking the image of planets circling the sun. Sixteen dark stone columns reach toward the ornate painted ceiling. One of Mr. Hussein's thrones sits on the side of the room.

Cedric's Big Mix
Colin gets a little bitchy
42 minutes ago

The Daily Jot
43 minutes ago

Ruth's Report
Iraq, Fort Worth
18 hours ago

Mikey Likes It!
Helen Thomas (yea!), Arianna (boo)
18 hours ago

The reset at Pacifica
19 hours ago

Oh Boy It Never Ends
Foul Play
19 hours ago

The World Today Just Nuts
An Injustice Is Born
19 hours ago

Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Real coup and faux coup
19 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
the lady doth protest too much
20 hours ago

Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
KPFA, half-assed radio
20 hours ago

Trina's Kitchen
Banks failing
20 hours ago

Like Maria Said Paz
Sexist Melinda Henneberger embraces her own
20 hours ago

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends