Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Clarifying al-Maliki

Monday, July 21, 2008

Clarifying al-Maliki

The al-Maliki/16 months story just keeps on giving. The New York Times writes that, after the Iraqi statement (that wasn't actually released through Iraqi government channels) claiming that al-Maliki's remarks had been translated incorrectly, Spiegel clarified that the translator had been provided by al-Maliki's office and, just for good measure, provided a copy of the untranslated comments to the Times. Funnily enough, the Times translation ("Obama's remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq") wasn't that different from what Spiegel had printed originally. Meanwhile, the Times also clarified some of what brought about the Iraqi "clarification." Officials of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad pointed out that the al-Maliki's statement was being interpreted in the United States as support for Obama's 16-month timetable. After some period of persuasion, the Iraqis came to realize that, despite this being pretty much what al-Maliki said, it must not have been what he really meant. Ah, the wonder of second thoughts. The fact that the second Iraqi statement was so wan, however, may suggest that those "second thoughts" didn't tell the whole Iraqi statement, either. Obama and al-Maliki are reportedly scheduled to meet on Monday. Where will al-Maliki's stated position stand after that?


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