Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Telling Us What We Want To Hear

Wishful thinking?

Or a reassuring message for foreign consumption?

Iraq plans to take security control of the whole country from foreign forces by the year end, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday, after growing pressure to say when U.S. troops would leave.

But he said there was no easy way to end the raging sectarian violence which continued in the capital as two car bombs killed 20 people and wounded 30 in mostly Shi'ite areas.

Anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr withdrew his six ministers from Maliki's cabinet on Monday to press for a pull-out timetable for the 146,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

In a speech delivered on his behalf at a ceremony marking the handover of southern Maysan province from British to Iraqi control, Maliki said three provinces in the autonomous Kurdistan region would be next, followed by Kerbala and Wasit provinces.

"Then it will be province by province until we achieve (this transfer) before the end of the year," Maliki said in the speech delivered by National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie.

Rubaie said this could happen even sooner.

"We are working very hard to get all provinces to have control and transfer security responsibilities ... well before Christmas," he told reporters in English after the ceremony.

Gotta love the reference to Christmas by Rubaie -- a Shiite.

We know who the intended audience is.


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