Reuters reported today that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told German magazine, Der Spiegel, in an interview released today that “Maliki said he wanted U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.”
“U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.”
It is the first time he has backed the withdrawal timetable put forward by Obama, who is visiting Afghanistan and us set to go to Iraq as part of a tour of Europe and the Middle East.
Barack Obama has “called for a shift away from a “single-minded” focus on Iraq and wants to pull out troops within 16 months, instead adding U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan.” Barack Obama, as Stuart reported earlier today, was in Afghanistan today with Senators Hagel and Reed.
Asked if he supported Obama’s ideas more than those of John McCain, Republican presidential hopeful, Maliki said he did not want to recommend who people should vote for.
“Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems.”
Now, hours later, CNN reports that a “spokesman for al-Maliki said his remarks “were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately.””
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the possibility of troop withdrawal was based on the continuance of security improvements, echoing statements that the White House made Friday after a meeting between al-Maliki and U.S. President Bush.
The Der Spiegel interview was released “one day after the White House said President Bush and al-Maliki had agreed to include a “general time horizon” in talks about reducing American combat forces and transferring Iraqi security control across the country.”
And of course as we all know, the “Bush administration has steadfastly refused to consider a “timetable” for withdrawing troops from Iraq.”
I had planned to report on the first story earlier today, but waited because in the ever changing world of politics, as we have seen now, the story has changed since it was first released by Reuters. I had a feeling it would…
The Caucus has more on the interview and the subsequent statements. Needless to say, “Al-Maliki’s Announcement” was a “A Big Deal” earlier…. That is until the other shoe dropped. Memeorandum has all the buzz on the initial story and more.
In an interesting aside note to the Al-Maliki said he supports Obama’s withdrawal plan for Iraq, or he didn’t say it, the “White House this afternoon accidentally sent to its extensive distribution list a Reuters story headlined “Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan – magazine.””
ABC’s Political Punch reports:
The White House employee had intended to send the article to an internal distribution list, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz reports, but hit the wrong button.
The White House email “misfire comes at an odd time for Bush foreign policy, at a time when Obama’s campaign alleges the president is moving closer toward Obama’s recommendations about international relations — sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, discussing a “general time horizon” for U.S. troop withdrawal and launching talks with Iran.”
I have to laugh about all of this because “Obama’s recommendations about international relations” are all things that our last nominee, John Kerry (and other Dems in Congress) have been stressing for some time now.
And still we wait for the war based on lies to come to end.