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August 25, 2008

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Matt K.

So is this to be understood as your endorsement for President? Or should that have been gleaned previously?

Alex

A very high ranking American diplomat with long experience in Iraq recently told me that he expected the Iraqis to take this as close to the brink as they could, since they knew the importance the Bush administration placed on getting a deal - basically a game of chicken, holding out for the best deal.

Yeah, that's what Americans like to believe. I am surprised you are taken in by it, AA. I think there's every sign - and has been since late June - that Maliki really means it. Because he is under enormous pressure not to go for anything less. American diplomats are probably fooling themselves, because they can't believe that there is something real behind, but it may be that they understand quite well the situation and are just putting up a front.

I come back to what I've already said widely. It is absolutely astounding that none of the professional analysts has gone into the politics behind Maliki's refusal to sign, absolutely central issue, but pass their time on the relatively trivial issue of the supposed crackdown on the Awakening people. Yes, the Sahwa people will be dumped, but it is mostly US briefings which are saying that it is happening now.

Shawn Brimley

Marc - I think that's right. Both sides are playing hocus-pocus with the politics of this, but I don't think that in the end the language on time-lines/horizons/ceilings will amount to all that much. What worries me most is this idea of Americans moving out of Iraq cities by June 2009 and transfering SOI contracts that same month. Yikes!

Badger

Shaun Brimley,

(1) could you explain "playing hocus pocus with the politics of this"? Are you suggesting the Iraqi parliamentary groups are in fact more amenable than what the Maliki remarks indicate...

(2) do you think there could be any hocus pocus involved in the Maliki crack-down scare (a lot of which is coming from the recent American visitors to the GZ...)

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