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Republicans in Iraq

John on February 25, 2009 at 9:46 am

The NY Times yesterday:

Inside a tribal guest house near here, shaded by palm trees and surrounded by irrigated fields of barley and wheat, the talk over tea the other day quickly turned to politics. Not Iraq’s, America’s.

Sheik Moyad Fadhel Hussein al-Ameri, one of three brothers who were the hosts, said he was worried. A former mayor of Mahmudiya, he has a politician’s acuity. And with it, he has closely tracked President Barack Obama’s early statements on Iraq.

“President Obama is always talking about change,” he said, dressed in traditional robes and headdress and seated in one of the plush arm chairs that ringed the long greeting hall. “We would like to know what change.”

[...]

The gathering, as it turned out, was a partisan one. “We are all Republicans,” Mr. Ameri’s brother, Najim, interjected, and everyone in the hall laughed.

[...]

“What about the economic collapse?” another Ameri brother, Ali, interjected. Will the need to cut spending affect Mr. Obama’s decision about reducing the troops here? Sheik Moyad expressed surprise about the new administration’s response to the crisis, the deep American intervention in its industries.

He compared Mr. Obama to Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, and his policy of perestroika, or change, only in reverse. “You’re becoming socialists!”

I hope Obama doesn’t let these guys down.

Related: A newly released tidbit on Iran’s involvement in Iraq:

Britain has revealed that, when British troops were under heavy attack in southern Iraq in 2006-7, Iran offered to stop these attacks if Britain would stop trying to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program. During that period, 27 British soldiers were killed, and hundreds of attacks were carried out. Iran was paying over a thousand of Iraqi Shia Arabs about $300 a month to carry out the attacks on the British troops. Britain refused the Iranian offer, and eventually the attacks stopped because British and Iraqi troops killed or arrested most of the terrorists. British and American special operations forces also began working inside Iran, and it was Iran that was persuaded to back off.

This is right about the time then-Senator Obama was telling America it was time to get out of Iraq. Good thing he wasn’t in charge at the time. [HT: Ace]

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