Iraq PM says US forces can leave

Iraq PM says US forces can leave

Al-Maliki has said his administration needs time and effort to enact the political reforms [EPA]


At a time when pressure is mounting in the US for George Bush, the US president, to withdraw American troops from Iraq, al-Maliki has said his administration needs “time and effort” to enact the political reforms called for by Washington.



“Particularly since the political process is facing security, economic and services pressures, as well as regional and international interference,” said al-Maliki.

But he said if necessary, Iraqi police and soldiers could fill the void left by the departure of coalition forces.

“We say in full confidence that we are able, God willing, to take the responsibility completely in running the security file if the international forces withdraw at any time they want,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hassan al-Suneid, a member of parliament, told The Associated Press on Saturday that al-Maliki has problems with General David Petraeus, the chief US commander in Iraq.


He said US troops have embarrassed the Iraqi government and that General Petraeus was working along a “purely American vision”.


Al-Suneid said the US military strategy is to “arm whoever is against al-Qaeda at a time when there are gangs against al-Qaeda that kill. These are gangs of killers.”


He was referring to US overtures to groups in Anbar and Diyala, encouraging former anti-government fighters to join the fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq.


Armed groups


The US military insists it is not arming groups to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq. Instead, officials say they are re-directing them away from attacks on US troops to confront al-Qaeda in Iraq.


“We cannot imagine that a neighbourhood is bombed with an excuse that ‘we are searching for a terrorist'”

Hassan al-Suneid, adviser to Nuri al-Maliki

Al-Suneid warned that these armed groups will retain their weapons in the future because of the US overtures.


He also said US authorities have embarrassed the al-Maliki government through acts such as constructing walls in Baghdad and repeated raids on Sadr City.


Al-Suneid said: “Al-Maliki finds difficulty in understanding [Petraeus] because he moves with a purely American vision, and reality needs a co-ordinated mutual vision.”


Al-Maliki’s adviser denounced the heavy use of arms by US troops against suspected fighters as human rights violations.


He said US forces use methods that produce results fast, including “building walls, random killings, detentions in ways that are far from human rights and this embarrasses the government in front of its people”.


“We cannot imagine that a neighbourhood is bombed with an excuse that ‘we are searching for a terrorist,”‘ he said.


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