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June 30, 2009
No thanks from Maliki for US sacrifices
Alissa Rubin, writing in the New York Times highlights the boastful, ungrateful Nouri al-Maliki's statement on US withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq's cities:
In the past few weeks, nationalist sentiments have spread within the Iraqi government and military, with officials all but boasting that Iraq is ready to handle the security situation on its own.
Speaking as a military parade marking the event was held deep inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said, "The national united government succeeded in putting down the sectarian war that was threatening the unity and the sovereignty of Iraq."
He made no mention of the American military's involvement in fighting here for the last six years, and more than 120,000 American troops remain on Iraqi soil. There were no official documents signed between the countries and no handover of authority on Tuesday. June 30 was the date set in an Iraqi-American security agreement that went into effect on Jan. 1.
Many ordinary Iraqis said that a day they long doubted would come seemed to have arrived. Although some worried that the security forces may not be able to control the insurgency, they were also relieved to have the Americans out of sight. Some said they believed that the American presence had given insurgents a pretext to stage attacks.
Goodbye and thanks for the fish.
The US has pulled Maliki's chestnuts out of the fire on several occasions so this kind of back of the hand statement is particularly galling. But, if Maliki thinks it will help him in the future, he can have his little day in the sun. I doubt the Iraqi people forget the way Americans helped protect them and who is really responsible for the drop in violence.