Iraqi Prime Minister Makes History, Meets With President Bush

“It’s a remarkable, historical moment, as far as I’m concerned, to welcome a freely elected leader of Iraq to the White House. We’re impressed by your courage, Mr. Prime Minister, and we’re impressed by the courage of the Iraqi people. And we want to help you.”

President George W. Bush
July 26, 2006

Prime Minister Maliki’s government has the support of 94% of the Iraqi people!

U.S. President George W. Bush (R) walks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to a news conference at the White House in Washington July 25, 2006. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)

The first democratically elected Iraqi Prime Minister visited the White House today in a historic meeting with President George W. Bush. He is also planning on giving a speech to a joint session of Congress while he is in Washington. The AP wonders why the new Prime Minister Maliki has not worked miracles in Baghdad, yet. After all, he has had his cabinet officials in place now for a whole 6 weeks!

Al-Maliki made his first visit to Washington as the first democratically elected prime minister since the fall of Saddam Hussein. The bloodletting in Baghdad and the current fighting between Israel and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon were at the top of his agenda with Bush.

Here are some statistics from a poll that was released last week that shows the popularity of the Iraqi Prime Minister and his government (as posted yesterday):

Ninety-four percent of Iraqis support a “unity” government, representing all religious and ethnic communities, as opposed to 2 percent who do not support it.

Asked to judge whether Iraqis should be segregated by religion, or by ethnicity, 78 percent of Iraqis oppose those prospects; only 13 percent support them. In multi-ethnic Baghdad, where most of the sectarian revenge killings occur, 76 percent of the public opposed ethnic separation; 10 percent supported it.

International Republican Institute June 14-24, 206 Iraqi Survey

Even in the Sunni provinces, the new Iraqi government musters 23 percent support. And overall, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki commands approval numbers that any Western head of state would envy. Nationwide confidence in the al-Maliki government stands at 58 percent “approve” to 20 percent “disapprove.”

Kurds—roughly 20 percent of the population—support the new government 60 percent to 11 percent. Residents of the southern provinces—largely Shiite—approve 83 percent to 3 percent.

Al-Maliki himself commands a 55 percent approval rating, compared to 20 percent who disapprove.

And, check these numbers out reported from a Harris Poll linked to from Glenn Reynolds:

Meanwhile, the Harris poll offered some positive feedback on Iraq. Seventy-two percent of respondents said the Iraqi people are better off now than under Saddam Hussein’s regime — a figure similar to that of 2004, when it stood at 76 percent. In addition, 64 percent say Saddam had “strong links” with al Qaeda, up from 62 percent in October 2004. Fifty-five percent said that “history will give the U.S. credit for bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq.”

Here is the text from the press conference today at the White House.

Democrats are attacking Prime Minister al Maliki today.

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