Maliki, We Hardly Knew Yi


Tuesday's headline:

Iraq PM Maliki to address US Congress in joint session

Wednesday's headline:

Maliki denounces Israeli attacks

Not too surprising, but can anyone read between the lines? Is this all positioning? Is Maliki just trying to shore up domestic support by breaking so obviously with the U.S.? Is there anything more meaningful here? Are leaders in Congress still going to trample each other in a race to kiss his ring?

UPDATE: I don't see a poll on this particular conflict, but a poll on Israel's handling of the Gilad Shalit crisis had a clear majority of Americans supporting Israel—52 percent, with 17 percent saying "give into Palestinian demands."

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  1. Dude, he has to come out against the Israeli bombing. How could he not and ever get elected?

    Not coming out against Israels bombing would be like a Shia or a Kurd coming out in favor of Saddam Hussein.

  2. ok that might not be the best analogy, but you get my point.

  3. I think David’s point is that the timing is mildly suspicious, since the bombing pre-dated the announcement of his address to the US Congress. This may be the Iraqi equivalent of the venerable American political tradition of delaying the release of good news until immediately after the release of a piece of bad news.

  4. It must be positioning.

    Only an idiot Iraqi would be sad that the Lebanese proxies of the countries sponsoring terrorism in Iraq are getting a pounding.

  5. Iraq’s traditional and ernest antipathy towards Israel doesn’t have any significant bearing our relation with either one. We certainly do not require that our allies agree with us or move in lock step in regard to each other.

    The situation might best mirror that of Greece and Turkey during the Cold War. They each hate the other but managed to work together within Nato and both remain US allies. Likewise, we have pretty much successfully navigated the antipathy between Israel and Egypt and Jordan. (although I wouldn’t qualify the later two as true allies.)

    In the Muslim world there is often a very sharp conflict between the public and private views of any government. In a face based culture certain public position are required almost as a matter of ritual. The diplomatic history of the Mideast is rife with instances public denunciations of the actions of the US, Israel or the West in general followed by behind the scene assurances that they are that upset.

  6. To paraphrase Weigel: “Please, please help me figure out how to paint Maliki as a puppet. Someone? Anyone?”

  7. The point Shannon made about Greece, Turkey and NATO is a good one. Unfortunately, the way the two countries were convinced to make nice was a U.S. policy of doling out equal amounts of aid from our taxes to both of them. The same trick was used from Camp David on for Egypt and Israel.


  8. Loaded questions in that poll, giving a choice between “increase” and “give in”.

  9. MoaningNoam – Allawi was a puppet. I’m not sure if Maliki is. I honestly wonder how much of this is posturing and how much is Maliki doing what he pleases while a weakened U.S. crosses its fingers.

  10. R.C. Dean says “Only an idiot Iraqi would be sad that the Lebanese proxies of the countries sponsoring terrorism in Iraq are getting a pounding.”

    I presume he refers to Iran. Yet most of the top officials of the Iraqi government get along famously with Iran. Shi’ite leaders and Kurdish insurgents all received aid from Iran during their fight against Hussein’s Sunni Ba’ath Party government.

    The insurgents in Iraq are mostly Sunnis who oppose Iranian influence in Iraq.

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