…and you’ll be surprised who said that. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki:
“U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months [for withdrawal from Iraq]. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.”…
“Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems.”…
“The Americans have found it difficult to agree on a concrete timetable for the exit because it seems like an admission of defeat to them. But it isn’t,” Maliki told Der Spiegel.
Spencer Ackerman offers a good explanation for why Maliki said this:
Maliki has read the tea leaves and evidently realized what the rest of us considered obvious: that the only one demanding that he turn Iraq to permanent foreign domination is a president thoroughly discredited in his own country who’ll be out of office in a few months. That president’s replacement might very well decide on a unilateral withdrawal from Iraq, abrogating any deal Maliki was strongarmed into signing, at which point the U.S. would essentially be cutting Maliki off. Oh motherfucking shit, Maliki surely thought, if I sign this deal, my people will run my body through the streets and hoist me from a fucking lamppost. Not that the electricity works, but still.
And so Maliki flip-flopped. His newfound resiliency is born of survival — not merely political survival, either.
Meanwhile, McCain’s camp is claiming that Maliki is responding to domestic pressures, such as the Iraqi people wanting us out of their country.
Think of it as a big purple middle finger….