Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Iraqi PM Supports Obama Approach to Ending the US Occupation of Iraq
An editors' note from Solon explains: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has attempted to retract his apparent support for Barack Obama's timetable; a statement from an Iraqi government spokesman said al-Maliki was "misunderstood and mistranslated." However, the translator who was present for the interview works for the prime minister, not Der Spiegel.
Spiegel: Would you hazard a prediction as to when most of the U.S. troops will finally leave Iraq?
Maliki: As soon as possible, as far as we're concerned. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.
Spiegel: Is this an endorsement for the U.S. presidential election in November? Does Obama, who has no military background, ultimately have a better understanding of Iraq than war hero John McCain?
Maliki: Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of U.S. troops in Iraq would cause problems. Of course, this is by no means an election endorsement. Whom they choose as their president is the Americans' business. But it's the business of Iraqis to say what they want. And that's where the people and the government are in general agreement: The tenure of the coalition troops in Iraq should be limited.