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Did WikiLeaks Target al-Maliki? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Leader of the outgoing government, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not brand the classified US military documents recently leaked by WikiLeaks as being pure lies and fabrications. Rather, al-Maliki said that he considered the disclosure of this information – and its timing – to be part of an attempt to prevent him remaining as Prime Minister.

The question here is; who is al-Maliki – or indeed any other Iraqi prime ministerial candidate – that in order to prevent them from assuming office, this huge number of classified documents which implicate numerous countries, organizations, and individuals must be leaked?

Anybody scrolling down the index of these documents on the WikiLeaks website can clearly see that there is little mention of al-Maliki, and that other parties such as the Pentagon, Iran, and Syria, have much more to lose. Nobody could believe that the person being targeted by this overwhelming deluge of information is Nouri al-Maliki; and that all of this is part of a grand conspiracy to prevent him from obtaining a second term in office.

Al-Maliki’s belief that he is being targeted is completely wrong for a number of reasons. If the Americans truly wanted to prevent him from a second term in office, they wouldn’t need to air their dirty laundry in public and further tarnish their own image. The diplomatic leverage possessed by the Americans is sufficient to prevent al-Maliki from returning to office in the blink of an eye. The US ambassador in Iraq need only summon a few of America’s friends in America; that would be sufficient for them to break off their alliance with al-Maliki. If a US official were to drop a hint that al-Maliki is an undesirable candidate, some Iraqi blocs would turn towards his rivals, and forge an alliance with them instead. The truth is that al-Maliki is not an opponent of America but is in fact one of Washington’s favourites and the US continues to suggest that al-Maliki is a suitable figure to reassume the role of Prime Minster, provided that he manages to bring the other major Iraqi political blocs into government. However al-Maliki’s problem is that he wants to be a dictator, not a prime minister.

He wants to enjoy sovereign rule in the same manner that he has over the past four years. This is the problem that could prevent al-Maliki’s reappointment; nevertheless his changes are still good.

400,000 classified military documents do not need to be leaked in order [for anybody] to conspire against al-Maliki and prevent him from being re-elected when one single document is sufficient to create the desired scandal without these repercussions. We all know there is no body in Iraq that specializes in calling those in power to account, such as the Prime Minster. Should any of Nouri al-Maliki’s – or indeed any other senior Iraqi officials – violations be unearthed, the result of this is nothing more than another chance to criticize them in the media.

No one will be called to account, and surely nobody will be brought to trial. Al-Maliki’s belief that he is the target of the leaked military documents is just an illusion. If those documents were posted nine months ago, al-Maliki would claim that they were leaked to prevent him from standing in the elections. If they were leaked during the election process, al-Maliki would claim that they aimed to scupper his chances of winning. If they were posted one, two, or four months after the elections, he would argue that they were designed to prevent him from forming the cabinet, and perhaps if they were posted a year from now, he would think it was part of a plot to overthrow him!

What these documents reveal is extremely alarming and horrific by any standard. If it is true that the Iraqi Prime Minister once established militias in order to carry out sectarian killings, or had knowledge of their existence, or influence over them, then this is very disturbing news. Many have accepted the idea that Saddam Hussein was overthrown not because he possessed weapons of mass destruction, but rather because he was a bloodthirsty dictator. I think al-Maliki needs to clarify this issue, rather than levelling accusations at others, and ignoring what these documents revealed.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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