June 11th, 2008
03:42 PM ET
11 years ago

Blitzer: Awkward Iraq news for McCain campaign

WASHINGTON (CNN) - One of the most awkward developments for Bush administration and McCain campaign officials to defend is the appearance of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Iran, embracing and kissing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranians are widely accused by U.S. military and civilian officials of helping to kill American troops in Iraq. The Iranian leader is widely accused of supporting a covert nuclear weapons program. He has been quoted calling for Israel to be removed from the map. So why is the top U.S. ally in Iraq kissing him?

The Administration’s defense is that the Iraqis need to work out a good, long-term relationship with their Iranian neighbors. High-level discussions between the Iraqi and Iranian leadership, they say, will help – not hurt – the overall security situation in Iraq.

The Democrats, including Barack Obama, make the point that Iranians have in fact been the big winner in the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Iran is a more influential player in the region now, especially since it no longer has to worry about its former Number One enemy, Saddam Hussein.

All this takes on a greater significance now that the U.S. and Iraqi governments are trying to negotiate what’s called a Status of Forces agreement in Iraq. That would spell out the terms for a prolonged U.S. military stay. The Iranians are telling the Iraqis that the U.S. must pull out. And some Iraqis agree.

“The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq,” Sami al-Askari, a senior Iraqi politician close to the Prime Minister told The Washington Post. “If we can’t reach a fair agreement, many people think we should say ‘Goodbye, U.S. troops. We don’t need you here anymore.’”


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. Donald, Canton NC

    So its OK for Iraqi government officials, Prime Minister, to speak directly with the Iranian President, but not so for the US! Talk about hypocrisy!!!

    Its time to tell the Iraqis that American troops are coming home - get your act together.

    June 11, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. No HIllary and No McCain EVER

    THE CLINTONS HAVE A HIT LIST

    EVERYONE WATCH OUT. THEY ARE OUT TO GET EVERYONE WHO DIDN'T VOTE FOR THEM.

    MCCAIN IS OLD AND SENILE AND HAS THE BEGINNINGS OF ALTEIMERS.

    OH LOOK. A PERFECT REASON AS TO WHY WE NEED TO NUKE AND GO TO WAR WITH IRAN AND START WORLD WAR 3 AND 4

    MCSAME

    June 11, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    Hmmm...this should be interesting!!!

    June 11, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Welcome Hillary Supporters

    I'd like to welcome all the Hillary Clinton supporters to the republican party and thank you for coming to your senses and backing the best candidate, John McCain.

    Together we can:

    1) help reverse Roe v. Wade and make abortion illegal – let's stop the murder of unborn babies!

    2) stop gays from getting married – let's get a constitutional amendment to stop gay marriage and let them know they are not normal!

    3) keep fighting the good fight in Iraq for as long as it takes – remember 9/11 and what we are fighting for!

    4) get ready to invade Iran – we know they are planning to nuke us – let's get them first! McCain will make sure we do!

    Good to see democrats finally waking up and becoming more conservative!

    June 11, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. charles

    I am waiting for the day when the Iraq govt. tells the U.S. to get out and get out now!

    June 11, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Heather

    ....

    Awkward?

    Yeah, that's putting it mildly. I guess Malaki's a Nazi appeaser, as well?

    Um. HOW'S ABOUT WE GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE???

    June 11, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. Don

    I am more concerned about Jim Johnson affiliation with Obama and the constant double speak. Lobbyists would not be part of this campaign yet u pick a friend to lobbyist to vet potential veeps. Followers take the cloth off your eyes.

    June 11, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. Greg, NY

    So McCain is saying it would be bad for Obama to negotiate directly with Iran and here we have our key Iraqi ally not only negotiating directly, but kissing the guy...

    I'm actually speechless.

    June 11, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. Turnabout is Fair Play

    OOPS! Gotcha McCain, what are you going to say about Obama wanting to sit down and talk to Iran's leader NOW? Yeah, that's what I thought. Time to watch you squirm, lie and claim that you never said all those things about Obama being naive to want to sit down with our enemies now..you'll look like the senile old fool that you are if you try.

    Obama/Sebelius or Webb '08!

    June 11, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. RuthieM

    "The Democrats, including Barack Obama, make the point that Iranians have in fact been the big winner in..."

    HA! And as usual Obama was correct. No, it's not 'the Democrats including Barack Obama', it's been Barack Obama who has been making the point that the Iranians have in fact been the big winner in the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Give the man some credit for once, huh. And Bush has been listening to Obama from a distance, from the sidelines as he did with the attack into the Afghanistan hill and rooted out some of the bad guys there not long ago. Obama has said this is where we need to be, that if there is intelligence that is where we should be, he would go. And Bush listened to him and he went!

    June 11, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. David Goldman for OBAMA

    EVERYONE THAT CAN READ KNOWS THAT THE WAR IN IRAQ

    MADE US WEAKER & IRAN STRONGER. THAT'S A FACT.

    THE IRANIANS SPEND PENNIES FOR GAS. WE ARE ON OUR

    WAY TO PAY $5.00 A GALLON IN A MONTH. 99% OF WHAT

    COMES OUT OF MCMOULD, UNLESS HE HAS A BRAIN GLITCH,

    IS A LIE. WE ARE IN BIGGER TROUBLE THAN MOST AMERICANS

    CAN EVEN IMAGINE.

    June 11, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. DJ, LA, CA

    Duh...of course Iran benefited from the removal of Saddam. I mean what were they thinking? Errr...that's too much of a rhetorical question as they were only thinking about $ for Bush/Cheney constituents – in guaranteed long-term reconstruction projects w/ no oversight.

    Now that the Sunni's have been disposed...the Shiites and their Iranian cousins are closer than ever and have much more political influence in the Iraqi government.

    June 11, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Susan

    It's time to get out of Iraq. We are clearly worsening the situation. Obama and Clinton were right!

    June 11, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Chris from San Antonio

    So the Bush response is:
    We won't talk to Iran, and it's irresponsible for Obama to talk to Iran, but by all means, Iraqi officials are SMART to talk to Iran.

    This administration has less appeal than hemmoroids.

    June 11, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. Voter

    Nice and slick. Just say the "problem for the Bush administration and the McCain campaign..." Linking them together as only CNN is willing to do. How about acting like journalists instead of radio talk show hosts?

    I'm certainly not a Republican, but this is so tacky that those who are will only be re-enforced. Don't you have any confidence at all that the Democrats can win this thing fair and square???

    June 11, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. rice, bryan

    and the train just keeps backing up, and running the united states doesn't it. and just think the iraqis and trying to help us in defending their country. let's stay in for another 100 years!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 11, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. Charlotte

    Isn't that what Obama wants to do?

    June 11, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. A voice from Iran

    Why are Americans tryng to describe Iran as evil?

    1) Because they are developing Nuclear Weapons?
    Answer: if it is soo bad to have nuclear how comes US and its allies have it long before Iran ever tried to obtain it

    2) Because Iran is helping Iraqis to fight against US?
    Answer: What are US soldiers doing in Iraq at the first place. US puts over 200K soldiers fully armed in Iraq it is not bad but if Iran gives a small arm to someone there, it is bad?

    June 11, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Chris

    If Wolf knew anything about Middle East culture, he'd know that kissing is a natural greeting, much as it is in Europe. To play it off as some lovey-dovey warming up to Iran is foolish. In addition, the meeting was tense and cold, with Malaki warning the Iranians to stay out of Iraqi affairs.

    June 11, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. Gary Chandler in Canada

    Here's a True and False quiz for ya'll.
    The Iraq War will be a short one. T F
    The Iraq War will be an inexpensive one. T F
    It will be precise with minimum casualties. T F
    It will lead to lower oil prices. T F
    WMD's will be found. T F
    It will lead to the capture of Saddam and Bin laden. T F
    It will destroy the threat of Terrorism. T F
    A heavily guarded, costly, guided tour of Iraq by McCain proved it was 'safe' to walk the streets. T F
    The Iraq War weakened Elquida and Iran. T F
    ————————————————–
    IT WILL BE a 'catastrophe' for Americans to withdraw. T F
    ————————————–

    June 11, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Loretta from California

    Now do you see? even the Iraqi's say they don't need us anymore.

    Read the writing on the wall It couldn't be more clear. Bring our brothers and sisters home.

    Start packing troops.

    June 11, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. Buddy

    You can not trust Iran and you can not trust Barrack H. Obama.

    June 11, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    HOW CAN ANYONE FORGET BUSH WALKING THROUGH

    THE HALLS OF THE SAUDI PALACE, HOLDING HANDS WITH

    THE SAUDI KING? ALL THESE BOYS ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY.

    WE ARE BEING SOLD RIGHT DOWN THE DRAIN.

    June 11, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. Chut Pata

    Okay, so our puppet government in Iraq can kiss the Iranian prez but our government can not negotiate with Iran? What kind of a policy is this Mr. McBush?

    June 11, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  25. Franky

    You know what Wolf? Who cares!! All I'm gonna say that when I was told "Change" was possible, I believed them..........that's all I'm gonna say.

    June 11, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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