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Friday, September 19, 2008

Who’s Lying, Obama or Zebari?

American voters are used to October surprises, from claims that Carter tried to speed up release of the American hostages in Iran to charges that Reagan tried to hinder their release. Now we have to deal with claims by Iraq’s Foreign Minister that Barack Obama, on his visit to Iraq, tried to interfere with the Status of Forces Agreement being negotiated between Iraq and the United States. If true, it would not only be a case of meddling to gain political advantage, it is illegal.

OBAMA TRIED TO STALL GIS' IRAQ WITHDRAWAL

By AMIR TAHERI
September 15, 2008 New York Post (Excerpt)

“WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.

Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops - and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its "state of weakness and political confusion."

"However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open." Zebari says.

Though Obama claims the US presence is "illegal," he suddenly remembered that Americans troops were in Iraq within the legal framework of a UN mandate. His advice was that, rather than reach an accord with the "weakened Bush administration," Iraq should seek an extension of the UN mandate.

While in Iraq, Obama also tried to persuade the US commanders, including Gen. David Petraeus, to suggest a "realistic withdrawal date." They declined.

Obama has made many contradictory statements with regard to Iraq. His latest position is that US combat troops should be out by 2010. Yet his effort to delay an agreement would make that withdrawal deadline impossible to meet.

Supposing he wins, Obama's administration wouldn't be fully operational before February - and naming a new ambassador to Baghdad and forming a new negotiation team might take longer still.

By then, Iraq will be in the throes of its own campaign season. Judging by the past two elections, forming a new coalition government may then take three months. So the Iraqi negotiating team might not be in place until next June.

Then, judging by how long the current talks have taken, restarting the process from scratch would leave the two sides needing at least six months to come up with a draft accord. That puts us at May 2010 for when the draft might be submitted to the Iraqi parliament - which might well need another six months to pass it into law.

Thus, the 2010 deadline fixed by Obama is a meaningless concept, thrown in as a sop to his anti-war base.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Bush administration have a more flexible timetable in mind.

According to Zebari, the envisaged time span is two or three years - departure in 2011 or 2012. That would let Iraq hold its next general election, the third since liberation, and resolve a number of domestic political issues
.


Even then, the dates mentioned are only "notional," making the timing and the cadence of withdrawal conditional on realities on the ground as appreciated by both sides.” New York Post

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3 Comments:

At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

Looks like Taheri has either confused his reporting, or just got it wrong.
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/undermining-mcc.html

 
At 5:03 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

No he didn't. A lot of double-talk and double-speak came out of the Obama camp to discredit this report, but the story stands. Taheri wrote two follow-up columns that shredded the double-speak and the Obama broadcasting network attempts to spin this.

 
At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama (Ill) denied he did anything wrong in his negotiations with Iraq in July. “The assertion that I asked for a delay in troop withdrawals is a lie,” Obama complained. “I merely suggested that such a decision be deferred until I take office in January.” Obama also took issue with the claim that his actions violated the Logan Act (a law barring private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments on matters of state). “I am not a private citizen,” Obama said. “I am a US Senator and the next president of the United States

 

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