Thursday, June 26, 2014

Iraq PM Rejects Calls For Unity Government
Iraqi volunteers to fight ISIL.
June 26, 2014

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON. – The Iraqi prime minister has said he will not bow to international pressure on forming a national unity government to tackle the Sunni rebellion in the north, calling the idea a “coup” against the constitution.
Nouri al-Maliki’s statement yesterday came a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry left Iraq after pushing for an agreement between Kurdish, Sunni and Shi’ite leaders.

In his weekly televised address, Maliki said: “The call to form a national emergency government is a coup against the constitution and the political process.

“It is an attempt by those who are against the constitution to eliminate the young democratic process and steal the votes of the voters.”

The speech came a day after US military advisers arrived in Baghdad. The US says Iraqi politicians must create a unity government before it sends further help.
Maliki’s comments would be seen as direct rebuttal to the US insistence of a unity deal before more help is sent.

Maliki’s electoral bloc won by far the most seats in April 30 parliamentary elections with 92, nearly three times as many as the next biggest party, and the incumbent himself tallied 720 000 personal votes, also far and away the most.

Meanwhile, former United States vice-president Dick Cheney, an architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, on Tuesday defended his choices at the time, and slammed the current US course as opening the door to insurgents.

Cheney spoke to PBS television as the first of up to 300 US military advisers began their mission in Baghdad on Tuesday to help the Iraqi army, and the Pentagon said the American troops were not taking on a combat role.

The primary task of the advisers was to evaluate the state of Iraqi forces and not to turn the tide against militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which have swept across western and northern Iraq, the Pentagon’s Press secretary said.

Referring to an op-ed article he wrote with his daughter Liz Cheney, the former vice president and ex defence chief said: “We don’t mean to be disrespectful to the president (Barack Obama), but I have got – and as did my co-author . . . we feel very, very strongly that we’re headed in the wrong direction”.

“This administration is taking exactly the opposite direction from which we ought to be headed,” Cheney stressed.

He believes Obama never meant to leave troops in Iraq – and that his decision to withdraw led to the current instability.

“The president did not want to have, I don’t believe, any stay-behind force in Iraq. I don’t think it was consistent with the campaign he’d run when he campaigned against our forces in Iraq and promised to bring them all out during the course of the campaign,” Cheney said.

And the former vice president still defends the choices of the George W. Bush administration which he served in – saying it did the right thing in 2003 – though its intelligence (arguing Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and ties to Al-Qaeda) later was shown to have been flawed.

Asked what mistakes were made, Cheney said: “It was not a flawless war, but I’ve never seen one that was.”

– Al Jazeera/AFP.

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