Obama and Iraqi PM Al-Maliki Hold Joint News Conference
President Obama and Iraqi PM Al-Maliki held a joint news conference today so Obama could praise the end of the War in Iraq. PM Al-Maliki says he’s “concerned about the security of the region”.
Obama says, “Our goal is to make sure Iraq succeeds. An inclusive Iraq can be a model to others in the region.”
Here are some highlights of the conference…
- Goal is to have a comprehensive relationship with Iraq
- Help Iraqis expand trade and commerce…to scientific exchanges…to providing assistance as Iraq is trying to make sure that electricity and power generation is consistent for its people…to joint exercises, militarily.
- We want constant communication between our governments, deep and rich exchanges between our two governments and between our peoples.
- Want to have a link between the U.S. and Iraq in a way that could potentially benefit the entire region and the entire world.
- Make sure oil production is ramped up and helping to encourage global investment.
- Goal is to have a sovereign Iraq that can protect its borders, protect its air space, and protect its people.
- Our security cooperation with other countries is a model for our security cooperation with Iraq.
- We will have a very active relationship military to military to enhance Iraqi capabilities and will ensure we have a strong partner in the region that will be effective.
Obama also said the size of the embassy, with respect to diplomats, will be comparable to other countries that we think are important around the world. But, there are still special security needs inside of Iraq that will make the overall number larger than otherwise would be. As Iraq continues to make progress this will reduce.
When asked if he still thought “this was a dumb war” Obama responded that history will judge the decision to go into Iraq.
President Obama thanked the American soldiers and the Iraqi people, but gave a very special “shout out” to VP Joe Biden who deserved high praise for fostering a high level dialogue between the two countries.
Next step…set up effective military ties between the U.S. and Iraq. But this will happen without the presence of any U.S. bases. There will only be an embassy and it will be “no different than any other country. Just a strong diplomatic presence.”
Obama says that violence did not increase in the areas where we pulled our troops. But, when asked about this in a Fox News interview after the conference, retired Major General Bob Scales said, “Frankly, nobody knows. We’ve created a power vacuum by American forces pulling out of Iraq”.
Interesting…there was never any mention of Iran…or the fact that radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr entered Iraq after a three-year self-imposed exile in Iran.
…al-Sadr fled because of threats from Asaib Ahl al-Haqq (AAH), a militant offshoot of his own Sadrist movement. Whatever the reason for his departure, he remains a significant force in Iraq, where he is viewed by some as a political and military proxy of Iran.
Krauthammer’s predictions are coming true…God help us.