by Robert Dreyfuss on 08/26/2008
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues to make headlines by posing as an Iraqi nationalist. Don't buy it.
Unfortunately, much of the media has swallowed Maliki's posturing without questioning it. The usually astute Leila Fadel, writing for McClatchy, has an article today headlined: "Maliki Demands 'Specific Deadline' for US Troop Pullout," which says:
Maliki said that the United States and Iraq had agreed that all foreign troops would be off Iraqi soil by the end of 2011. "There is an agreement actually reached, reached between the two parties on a fixed date, which is the end of 2011, to end any foreign presence on Iraqi soil," Maliki said.
Other newspapers and electronic media pick up Maliki's statement that Iraq wants all US forces out, not just combat troops. The Times headlines its story: "Maliki Pushes for Troop Withdrawal Date," and it barely questions Maliki's sincerity, though it does glancingly take note of the nationalist pressure on the Iraqi leader, reporting that "graffiti can be seen on the walls in Shiite districts of Baghdad saying, 'Iraq for sale: See Maliki.'" The Post headline ("Maliki Demands All U.S. Troops Pull Out by 2011") says as much, too, portraying Maliki as resolute and unyielding in talks with the United States over a security accord.