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Maliki and Friends - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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At the end of his visit to Syria, the statements made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki in reply to comments made by the US President would initially make anyone think that he was the one awaiting Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General David Howell Petraeus’ report – not the US Congress!

The report due September and commissioned by Congress will examine the Iraqi government’s failure to establish political action and national reconciliation in Iraq.

As he has previously done before, Mr. al Maliki will later announce that his statements were misreported – a reiterated excuse that seems to have impressed the Syrians lately. The Iraqi prime Minister suffers from a real crisis on all levels; the first of which is his failure to deal with the diversity in Iraqi society – let alone unify it.

Unfortunately, al Maliki and his associates will be remembered in history as the ones who made the Iraqis lament the end of the days where they had security under the dictator Saddam Hussein. During the bygone era of the Baathist regime, those who criticized it were the victims; whereas now, everyone is the victim of sectarian strife.

Iraq is being ravaged from its north to its south and from its east to its west by this sectarianism right before Mr. Maliki’s eyes. Meanwhile, al Maliki has restricted himself to one course instead of devoting his efforts to the whole of Iraq. However despite that fact, the Iraqi prime minister wants to escape from this reality by believing that the American criticism against him is only a consequence of his visit to Syria, whilst maintaining that the criticism is part of the US election battle.

This indicates that the Iraqi government is incapable of apprehending the reservations and criticisms leveled against it, not only from Washington, but also from inside Iraq and the Arab world.

The strange thing is that al Maliki rushed to criticize Washington without seeing what Iran is actually doing – not what it is saying. At a time when Tehran has adopted a sharper tone and threatened to burn the Gulf down if it was subjected to an American attack, it also released the American scholar whom it had accused of spying [Iranian-American academic, Haleh Esfandiari].

Al Maliki’s insinuation to Washington that he has friends other than the US who are capable of supporting him, could only have meant Iran and Syria.

Iran which is selfishly pursuing Iraq and wants to turn it into its backyard through which it can dominate the region and fulfill its Islamic revolution project. Meanwhile, Damascus wants Lebanon at any price and appears to be more bent on occupying Beirut than liberating the Golan Heights.

Notwithstanding all these facts, al Maliki and his associates ignore the issue that concerns the Arab world the most, including many of Iraq’s citizens, including the Shiaa: the issue of Iraq’s, which is recklessly dismissed by the prime minister and his aides.

Undoubtedly, no one wants a Westernized Iraq, but no one would accept a Persian Iraq either.

Here, one must remind Mr. Maliki, who brags about his new friends, the old saying that goes: “with friends like these, who needs enemies!”

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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