U.S. forges ahead with joint patrols in Iraq despite public condemnation

Maliki walks a tightrope in Washington
By Sami Moubayed, Asia Times Online, 29 July 2009

Maliki is walking a tightrope these days, trying to balance the interests of Iran, the US, and his Arab neighborhood. One of the objectives of his Washington trip, his first meeting with Obama since US troops withdrew from Iraqi towns and cities on June 30, 2009, was to show the Arabs that he is now being treated as an equal by the US, not as a stooge, as was the case under George W Bush. Obama wants a real leader in Iraq, who can shoulder responsibility for security, not a side-kick, and nobody understands that better than Maliki.

Obama does not have political benchmarks for Maliki to meet, and is not going to carry a big stick and threaten to remove him from office if he does not abide by the American agenda. The Iraqi leader believes that contrary to what many people believe, Obama is not interested in Iraq, as Bush was.

[Read the article]

Was Sami Moubayed snickering when he wrote those lines?

US Patrols Regarded With Suspicion by Iraqi Forces, Civilians
by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, 28 July 2009

Since its June 30 pullout from Iraq’s cities, US troops have found it increasingly difficult to conduct patrols in the cities. All such patrols will have to be joint, but Iraqi forces have declined to allow them access to many cities, including Baghdad. Patrols that have gone without accompanying Iraqi forces have been publicly condemned.

But now, though violence hasn’t really gotten any worse since the pullback, the US is redoubling its efforts to secure the joint patrols, particularly in Mosul. The new excuse is monitoring reconstruction projects, monitoring which they claim is vital for the Iraqi economy.

[Read the report]

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