NYTimes Confirms: Maliki Supports Obama's Withdrawal Plan

This is not surprising:

[T]he interpreter for the interview works for Mr. Maliki’s office, not the magazine. And in an audio recording of Mr. Maliki’s interview that Der Spiegel provided to The New York Times, Mr. Maliki seemed to state a clear affinity for Mr. Obama’s position, bringing it up on his own in an answer to a general question on troop presence.

The following is a direct translation from the Arabic of Mr. Maliki’s comments by The Times: “Obama’s remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq.”He continued: “Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.”

By Big Tent Democrat

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    This one worries me a bit (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:06:30 AM EST
    I like the idea, but I am not sure that making a promise like that when you are not even the President yet might be similar to saying you will stand against telephone immunity. Or speaking with Canada over NAFTA. It seems a little too presumptuous to me.IMHO. When I first read some on this, I was thinking, a little bit cocky, maybe?  

    The only thing we can ask for from him (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:16:08 AM EST
    There are no guarantees, after all.

    But didn't Sen. Obama say he was (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:24:30 AM EST
    going on the trip to listen and learn, as we already have a President?

    Obama said "We have one president (none / 0) (#14)
    by MsExPat on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 08:26:12 AM EST
    at a time"

    "I'm more interested in listening than doing a lot of talking."

    "We have one president at a time, so it's the president's job to deliver those messages," he said.

    Which struck me as an presumptuous turn of phrase. He could have just said "I'm interested in listening." and left it at that. But he added the other line, which you've got to read as: "I'm not president now, but I will be soon."


    It's not surprsing and. . . (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:14:12 AM EST
    I question the critical faculties of anyone who jumped on the "he didn't say it, he didn't say it" bandwagon yesterday after the US military released a correction to Der Spiegel's Maliki interview.

    I'm also concerned about this (3.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:55:23 AM EST
    since I heard it on the news and then I found it printed in a newspaper:  Obama in Afghanistan

    Visiting Kabul on the first stop of his first major overseas trip since winning the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, Mr Obama described conditions in Afghanistan as "precarious and urgent".

    "I think the situation is getting urgent enough that we have to start doing something now," he told CBS television. "We can't wait for a new administration otherwise it will be a year before new troops arrive."

    Huh?  Are we now letting presidential candidates dictate US policy?  

    Here's another bit of snark from the same (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:59:34 AM EST

    Mr Obama did little to disappoint critics who accuse him of arrogance. He said the objective of the trip was to "hold substantive discussions" with national leaders "who I expect to be dealing with over the next eight to ten years".

    He added: "It's important for me to have a relationship with them early."

    Perhaps he knows something (none / 0) (#18)
    by zfran on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 09:43:04 AM EST
    or has been told something about our election that we don't know about yet? He didn't "deal with them" as a U.S. Senator....his arrogance is frightening!!! Can't wait to hear how this trip is going to be reported! Oh wait, I don't watch those stations anymore.

    US Senators help dictate US policy. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Ramo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:04:04 AM EST
    That's their job.  It's in the Constitution.  Deferring to Dear Leader on all matters, on the other hand, is not.

    So why did he wait until (none / 0) (#13)
    by tree on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 08:16:19 AM EST
    he was a Presidential candidate to do his job as Senator? Besides, he apparently thinks he's won the Presidency already. Why else would he talk about getting a relationship "early"? It's pretty d@mn late in his Senate career, such as it is.

    A relationship isn't a negotiation. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ramo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 11:46:33 AM EST
    Obama explicitly said that he wasn't going to negotiate as if he were Prez.

    NO, he's just going to (none / 0) (#22)
    by tree on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:06:38 PM EST
    assume that he will be. Arrogance.

    And you still didn't answer my question. If Congresspeople should have input on foreign relations, where was Obama for the last 3 years?
    He isn't there as a Senator, he's there as a Presidential candidate.


    Arms proliferation for one. (none / 0) (#23)
    by Ramo on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 02:51:44 AM EST
    Obama has been a strong leader on stopping arms proliferation.  See the Lugar-Obama legislation.

    So what if he thinks that he'll be Prez?  Most people agree.  That's not arrogance, but a reasonable prediction about our political system.


    This is either Bush sycophancy (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:15:20 AM EST
    or Obama derangement.

    It's Bush (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:20:44 AM EST
    syco-- whatever you said ;)

    Bush, Sicko. (none / 0) (#16)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 08:46:47 AM EST
    You could actually leave it right there.

    hmmmm... (none / 0) (#20)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 11:27:47 AM EST
    'I believe our priorities are upside down. Afghanistan is a success story thus far, and yet we know it's going to be under increasing pressure in the months ahead. We should be adding more American military forces and we should be requiring the NATO countries to fulfill their commitments to the forces that they had promised us.


    'It would be a great irony if the Administration's emphasis on escalating our presence in Iraq caused it to ignore the threat facing Afghanistan where those responsible for planning the September 11 attacks are still our enemies. The President's team is pursuing a failed strategy in Iraq as it edges closer to collapse and Afghanistan needs more of our concerted effort and attention.'


    It's OK If It Is From Hillary, no?


    I'm waiting (none / 0) (#12)
    by cannondaddy on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 08:13:21 AM EST
    to hear what Maliki says after their meeting.  He seems to be quite an adept politician these days.  He hasn't fully stabbed the Bush administration in the back just yet, but he's let them know he has a knife there.

    Obama Was Right About Iraq (none / 0) (#15)
    by john horse on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 08:34:19 AM EST
    This is great news.  The Iraqi prime minister said he agreed with Obama's withdrawal plan.  

    Bush and McCain have long said that if the Iraqis want us to leave, we will leave.  The Iraqi prime minister has just said that he has no problem with Obama's plan for withdrawal from Iraq.  So whats the problem?

    This all is quite embarassing for prime (none / 0) (#17)
    by laurie on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 09:26:19 AM EST
    minister Maliki. He is having his own elections quite soon and has to say what his own electorate want to hear, and that is that there should be a withdrawal of US troops.
    However, that does not necessarily mean that he agrees entirely with Obama's withdrawal plan. Nor that he doesn't take it with a pinch of salt.

    A Distinction Without A Difference (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by john horse on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 09:51:31 AM EST
    Even assuming that Maliki is saying what the electorate want to hear this is what TPM has correctly characterized as "a distinction without a difference. If an Iraqi leader must oppose a continuing US military presence in order to stay in power, then clearly the days of the US military presence in Iraq are numbered."

    More Confirmation (none / 0) (#24)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 02:56:47 PM EST
    The reason the magazine [Der Spiegel] scores so many high level interviews is that the editors agree to allow the subjects to "authorize" the interviews before they go to press. It wasn't just a slip of the tongue, in other words: Maliki not only endorsed Obama's plans for withdrawing from Iraq, but his office then explicitly approved the endorsement before it was printed. The denials, then, were doubly facetious. Spiegel couldn't say so, though, without revealing its embarrassing authorization policy.