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Maliki Appears Before Congress
Published in AL HAYAT on 02 - 11 - 2013

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has brought along a great number of issues to Washington. Some of them are domestic, such as partnership in governance, elections, armament, militias, relations with the Kurds and oil. Others are regional, such as the issue of Syria and the relationship between Baghdad and Tehran, in addition to homegrown and worldwide terrorism.
All of these issues are in the keeping of Big Brother, who created most of them and still lends some of them his care and concern. Maliki's appearance before the Congress (knowing that the Prime Minister has rejected the Iraqi parliament's request for him to attend one of its sessions), in preparation for his meeting with President Obama, proved to be a disappointment for him, when he discovered that his overlords, Republicans and Democrats, were unsatisfied with his management of the affairs of power. In fact, they tied allowing the administration to arm him to "domestic reform" through wider participation in power for Sunnis and Kurds. In other words, they defended the rights of Iraqis, when Maliki should have met with the latter's representatives and planned out his trip to Washington in collaboration with them. He was thus taken by surprise by McCain, Corker and Menendez (prominent members and leaders of committees in Congress) having as their only concern the rights (shares) of "minorities" with regard to power. They did not forget to praise the noble Arab clans of Anbar and Mosul, and their role in fighting terrorists. They also reminded the man appearing before them that their country had paid the price in the lives of its own sons, in addition to exorbitant sums of money, for "Iraq to enjoy democracy", and not for the sake of Iran, whose influence in Baghdad now exceeds that of Washington.
Regarding regional issues, the leaders of Congress focused on combating terrorism, armed groups and militias, on putting a stop to any collaboration between Iraq and the regime in Damascus, and on detecting any Iranian weapons passing through Iraq to Syria.
In other words, they drew red lines which Maliki should not cross, as he should establish foreign relations in such a way as to serve Washington's interests, opposing its enemies and collaborating with its friends.
Maliki had been hoping to be awarded a medal from Washington, and to obtain weapons, backed by a stance in support of his "balanced" regional policy – especially after Turkey has opened up to him, after the United States and Iran have begun to court one another, and after Washington has started thinking of a political solution to the Syrian crisis. However, the Congress disappointed him. Indeed, the hawks are against opening up to Tehran, which they consider to be the root of all evil, and against a political solution in Damascus. Let the terrorists do what they can – what matters is for Iraq not to become part of this axis and form a bridge between Iran and Syria. Indeed, all the lives and the money America paid were aimed at undermining this alliance.
When Maliki complained to Biden, the Vice Big Brother replied that what he had heard in Congress was part of internal disagreements among Americans. Indeed, those are known disagreements between the White House and the legislators who monitor its work, and they remain within the confines of the democratic game, without moving to the street, especially if they concern foreign policy. And even if they do move to the street, they do not erupt in the form of terrorism, killing and destruction, nor do they turn into blood-spattered sectarian conflict. Indeed, the minority submits to the rule of the majority and holds it politically accountable.
In short, Congress dealt with Maliki as the representative of a sect, while he had sought to represent Iraq's other sects and ethnic groups as well. It held the Prime Minister accountable for his domestic and foreign policies. After reprimanding him, it threatened to pressure the administration to stop providing him with military aid – i.e. to lift its cover and allow him to be set upon by the sects whose rights have been suppressed, by those demanding independence from Baghdad and by those hostile to Iran.

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