Mr. Maliki's interview prompted immediate concern from the Bush administration, which called to seek clarification from Mr. Maliki’s office, American officials said.Yeah, there's just a couple of problems with their spin:
Scott M. Stanzel, a White House spokesman with President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., said that embassy officials explained to the Iraqis how the interview in Der Spiegel was being interpreted, given that it came just a day after the two governments announced an agreement over American troops.
“The Iraqis were not aware and wanted to correct it,” he said.
Diplomats from the United States Embassy in Baghdad spoke to Mr. Maliki’s advisers on Saturday, said an American official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss what he called diplomatic communications. After that, the government’s spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, issued a statement casting doubt on the magazine’s rendering of the interview.
The statement, which was distributed to media organizations by the American military early on Sunday, said Mr. Maliki’s words had been “misunderstood and mistranslated,” but it failed to cite specifics.
“Unfortunately, Der Spiegel was not accurate,” Mr. Dabbagh said Sunday by telephone. “I have the recording of the voice of Mr. Maliki. We even listened to the translation.”
But the interpreter for the interview works for Mr. Maliki’s office, not the magazine. And in an audio recording of Mr. Maliki’s interview that Der Spiegel provided to The New York Times, Mr. Maliki seemed to state a clear affinity for Mr. Obama’s position, bringing it up on his own in an answer to a general question on troop presence.And in a later clarification:
The following is a direct translation from the Arabic of Mr. Maliki’s comments by The Times: “Obama’s remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq.”
He continued: “Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.”
Iraqi officials hopes for US troop pullout by 2010Umm, so the same Iraqi gov't spokesman who said the remarks were mis-translated, (they weren't), now confirms that Maliki and Obama both want US troops out of Iraq by 2010. Hey, you say 16 months, I say 2010, let's call the whole thing off.
Ali al-Dabbagh made the comments following a meeting in Baghdad on Monday between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, who arrived in Iraq earlier in the day.
What's the White House's reaction?
Cross posted at VidiotSpeak