Morning Brief: Obama arrives to controversy in Iraq
Top Story QASSEM ZEIN/AFP/Getty Images Controversy erupted over the weekend when Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told German magazine Der Spiegel that he more or less agrees with U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama’s timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Through spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, Maliki later claimed he was misinterpreted, but did not specify exactly ...
Controversy erupted over the weekend when Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told German magazine Der Spiegel that he more or less agrees with U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama’s timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Through spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, Maliki later claimed he was misinterpreted, but did not specify exactly how — the translator who allegedly mistranslated the interview works for Maliki, and Der Spiegel stands by its version. The story behind Dabbagh’s statement is revealing: The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad had contacted Maliki’s office, seeking clarification after his remarks to Der Spiegel, and U.S. Central Command distributed Dabbagh’s statement to American news organizations.
All of this, of course, happened against the backdrop of a visit by Obama himself, which began Monday. First stop? Basra. He also meets with Maliki and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani today. Obama renewed his call Sunday to move troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.
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Blake Hounshell is a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.
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