posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 08:30 PM
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is finding that it is not easy to make friends with members of the US Congress. But perhaps some of that is of
his own doing.
Several key members of congress, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) did not attend a joint session of congress on Wednesday
at which al-Maliki was the keynote speaker. They were protesting the PM's refusal to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. al-Maliki has been
quoted in the NYT and other places as saying that the conflict in the mideast is the fault of Israel.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) tried to corner the PM into answering the question of whether he thought Hezbollah was a terrorist organization, but
al-Maliki would not answer, and furthermore, questioned Durbin's right to ask him the question.
Durbin also mentioned inflammatory comments made by Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, who was quoted last week saying that Jews are to
blame for all of Iraq's problems.
Other congressmen voiced concern over the lack of progress over Iraq's takeover of it's own security issues, and the failure to prohibit amnesty for
insurgents that have killed American soldiers. A total of nineteen Democrats signed a letter asking that the speech be cancelled. Nine of those
nineteen did not attend the speech.
Imo, we should not expect al-Maliki to dance like a puppet, or to follow our own foreign policy lockstep. But he should be expected to stand before a
joint session of congress and defend his policies. After all, he is now the PM of a sovereign country.