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. Wade

    So whats this got to do with McCain? Wolf, stop playing Presidential politics. You report, we decide what it means.

    June 11, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Daniel from FL

    Interesting...

    June 11, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. voter from CT

    The republicans are clueless and pathetic, this war is one HUGE distraction and it's costing the economy and our taxpayer dollars and our children's future...this is a disgrace, I'm so disgusted and I can't believe there are still so many that are with Mccain, what a waste...what a mess...

    June 11, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. ANGIE

    well can we finally give obama some credit for once lets see mcain what do you have to say about this one look whos laughing now you old fool!!!

    June 11, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Chris from San Antonio

    RE: Voter June 11th, 2008 3:51 pm ET

    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?

    It is a fact that both Bush and McCain have said Obama is irresponsible for wanting to talk to Iran. There is no bias in this from CNN.

    June 11, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    The biggest question I have for Bush, Channey and McCain is; why didn’t they just invade Iraq and treat them like the American Indians? You know just take there land and slaughter most of them. They could have put the rest of them on reservations and let them build casinos. We could have just took there oil and gave them a small share, that would have made more since. We you use to do that kind of stuff in this country.

    Instead they just lied about WMD’S and we have to pay high gas prices with no end in sight; that is stupid. The sad thing is 4100 American solders are dead and we are paying more for gas! What the hell? There is something definitely wrong here.

    Bush, McCain, GOP and CLINTON voted to send 4100 troops to there death and for what? That is the real story here!

    1. Is Iran stronger or weaker since Bush/McCain’s invasions of Iraq?

    2. Has Osama bin Laden been killed or captured since Bush/McCain’s invasion of Iraq?

    3. Are we paying more for gas now or before Bush/McCain’s invasion of Iraq?

    4. Is our economy better of now or before Bush/McCain’s invasion of Iraq?

    5. Is the White Houses creditability better now or before Bush/McCain’s invasion of Iraq?

    6. Is the budget deficit higher now or before Bush/McCain’s invasion of Iraq?

    7. Is the Middle East more peaceful now or before Bush/McCain’s invasion of Iraq?

    8. Do we have more American Solders dead or before Bush/McCain’s invasion of IRAQ?

    I love America to much to vote for McCain and the Rethuglicans

    June 11, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. Teddy California

    This is not big deal. It actually proves Iraq is an independent country and its leader is NOT a puppy of the U.S. Many of U.S. friends and allies do talk with Iranian leaders. McCain would be happy to talk about Iraq and Iran. The press does not have to talk about worsening economy, every rising oil prices, and sinking stock markets!

    June 11, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. Independent for Obama

    High-placed Iraqi officials have already said that they want our troops out in the next year.

    Also – to A voice from Iran – the reason people think Iran is evil or a threat is because:

    (1) Ahmedinejad refuses to recognize Israel and insists that if Iran ever gets a nuclear bomb, Israel will no longer exist; and

    (2) Ahmedinejad denies the Holocaust, denies the existence of gay people in Iranian and Middle Eastern society, and has a terrible human rights track record.

    June 11, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. Michelle

    wolf its just a well understood fact that Bush made terrorism 20 times worse with his failed Iraq policies and in doing so made Iran a stronger country in the process, but having said that its vitally important that the US take the path to diplomacy with Iran and not forge ahead with another mindset for more war!!
    Its time for the US to stop being the BULLY on the block and occupying foreign countries where they have no business being!
    Its not going to happen with MCCain at the helm but there is a chance with *Senator Obama* for the country to take a more peaceful
    and prosperous route

    June 11, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. tom

    just goes to show ya all those trillions of dollars spent for a ridiculous war leads too...

    way to go republican "tough talk" diplomacy.

    republicans SUCK

    Obama 08!

    June 11, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Illinois

    Well at some point I'm sure we'll see Obama kiss one of the high ranking Iranians. You know, we wouldn't want anyone to be mad at anybody or anything. I don't know why people are just now paying attention to the influence Iran has had on the Iraq war. It's been going on for years.

    And in case people arenot paying attention, Obama is starting to pull away from getting out of Iraq. I agree that we need to get out of there, but wehave to do it carefully......which is what Clinton was always saying. Of course now that she's led the way...again....Obama is starting to come around to the "right" way of thinking. This guy is a Manchurian Candidate. He doesn't have an independent thought of his own.

    June 11, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Sarah

    Wolf, embracing and kissing is part of their culture... The awkward bit for the McBush is they are engaging in DIPLOMACY!

    June 11, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. mary, Dallas, Tx

    This is crazy. We talk about war with Iran and protecting Iraq when it appears that the two are now uniting. McCain says that he does not know how long we will be there but the citizens want us gone. There life has not been made easier. Their towns are in ruins and civilians are injured and killed every day. It appears that we are the aggressors and it has nothing to do with democracy. It appears that our presence there is more about control.

    May God protect our soldiers. When the people get tired of our presence, what will happen to the men and women in that country. You can't tell your friends from the enemy. It is time to bring boys home, alive.

    June 11, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. WILLIS, Texas

    THIS SHOWS THAT MCCAN'T IS OUT OF TOUCH - IRAQ TALKS TO IRAN AND HE IS BEATING OBAMA OVER THE HEAD FOR WANTING TO TALK TO OUR ENEMIES.

    LOOK OUT US THE NEW POWER HOUSE WILL BE CHINA AND THE US GETS DOWNGRADED TO THIRD WORLD STATUS WITH MCCAN'T!!!

    OBAMA IS A VISIONARY AND IS THE ONLY ONE WHO RECOGNIZES THAT WE HAVE TO COMPETE ON A GLOBAL BASIS! THE WORLD DOES NOT STOP AT U.S. BORDERS 9ACCORDING TO MCCAN'T.

    WE NEED TO MOVE THE OLD, SENILE, AND OUT OF TOUCH MCCAN'T OUT OF THE WAY AND LET A YOUNGER, SMARTER, FASTER MAN DO THE JOB!!!!!

    June 11, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Was there any tongue? McSame doesn't know a Sunni from a Shiite and won't be president anyway....

    June 11, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. FactCheck

    Cost of Iraq war for one day = $720,000,000
    Cost of a gallon of gas = $4.69
    Cost of a Republican in office in 2009 = Four more years of the same.

    June 11, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. Randy - Denver

    It seems that maybe the policy of actually talking to your enemy has some merit after all!

    I especially liked the point where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the largest hurdle to securing peace and a lasting relationship was the presence of American troops. SOmething that has been said over and over by the international community. The major violence in Iraq is because we are there, if we had left, after they ahd established their own government the Iraq situation would have been taken care of by now. Our staying has increased the violence in Iraq and our leaving, once Mr. Obama is Presidnet, will make Iraq a much more stable and secure country. (Yes I am aware that there will be an initial surge in violence, and that Al-Queada will try to influence the country, but I am also aware that most Iraqis do NOT support Al-Queada and that they will do what they can to prevent the rise of Al-Queada. Contrary to the lies told by the bush administration not all Islamic people are radicals and only a small minority support the actions of such groups as Al-Queada, they do, however, support the right to make their own decisions about their own country something we in the West (and former USSR) have not allowed them to do for over 50 years. They do have some anger towards America, and rightfully so if you look at their history, but they also know that we are TRYING to change things and they do like most Americans, just not our government. but hey what do I know I have only spent 21 years in the military and been to Iraq during war time, of course I never got a "dog and pony show" like visiting VIPS but I did see things from a real perspective.

    June 11, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Mike

    hahah why on earth would we want to colonize iraq? peopel colonize for advancement and opportunity. The american colonists colonized america for freedom, encouraged by the british by te means of economic growth. Why on earth would anyone want to colonize iraq? seems to me like people should want out of that hellhole.

    Democrat and Hillary supporter. for Mccain.

    June 11, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. nick

    COMEON HILLARY SUPPORTERS AND LET US ALL WELCOME YOU TO THE TEAM CARRYING THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, JOHN MCCAIN!!!!!!!!!

    He is trusted more by americans than Obama, and so is his wife.

    I would like to discuss something that i dont understand. Why do Obama backers think Cindy Mccain is such a bad person?
    Is it because they dont like John so they think they should be prejudice and just not like Cindy? I THINK SO!
    She founded a non profit organization which: emergency medical care to disaster-struck or war-torn third-world areas, thats a GREAT thing SHE DID!
    Did you know while in Bangladesh she met two infant girls she decided needed to be brought to the United States for medical treatment and She also decided to adopt one of the girls?
    that is also soo NICE of them, yet Obama supporters are prejudice towards her, and she did nothing wrong, unlike Michelle Obama Claiming that "for the first time in her adult life she is proud of her country" thats pitiful.
    Well like i said welcome Aboard!

    BRING it on MICHELLE OBAMA!

    June 11, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Kenneth M

    WOW, WHAT A KICK IN THE BOTTOM. AFTER ALL WE DID FOR THEM. NOW THEY ARE ACTING AS IF WE INVADED THERE COUNTYR. O WAIT, WE DID.

    June 11, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Paris

    When there is a chance that Obama may become the president of the US, Nouri al-Maliki has no choice but to get friendly with Iranians.
    Obama keeps threatening that he will put more pressure on the Iraqi government and pull the troops out.
    That is why Nouri al-Maliki is trying to have plan s B incase of a troop withdraw.
    A 2 year old can understand that and Obama doesn’t.

    Unfortunately Democrats didn’t learn anything from the mistakes of Carter era and planning to repeat is all over again.
    Democrats gave us the gift of Islamic Iran and 29 years latter we are still trying to fix it.

    June 11, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Tanya

    Can't stop thinking about untold billions we keep spending to support Iraq!
    Could use few of these dollars at home, could we?

    June 11, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. What if?

    ATTENTION........Welcome Hillary Supporters…Please let me offer the rest of what you seem to be leaving out as you welcome Hillary’s Supporters….You can thank us later…
    Please read what the REPUBLICANS really think about you & your anger as a DEMOCRATS and your choice of Candidate....
    If Hillary would had won the nominee, she to would have been mention in these statements by the republicans….use PARENTHESES if Clinton supporter….

    “We’re going to have to fight the ideal that this is a historic opportunity to elect Barack Obama (changed to HILLARY’S NAME)” said Huckabee. “I salute how far he’s (changed to SHE) gone, but as far as I’m concerned, because of his (changed to HER) views and what he (changed to SHE) would do —-he’s (changed to SHE‘S) gone far enough for me this year”. Then Michael Goldfarb wrote on the campaign's official blog that "there is a genuine affection for her (changed to HIM) here at McCain HQ“ "Sen. Clinton (SEN. OBAMA NAME) has really grown on us over here in Crystal City over the past few months," wrote Goldfarb, calling her (changed to HIM) an "impressive candidate" who "inspired a generation of women (BLACKS, YOUNG WELL EDUCATED VOTERS)“ but "fell victim to a vast left-wing conspiracy that resented her (changed to HIM ) generally centrist foreign policy views." REPUBLICAN Senator Dole said this “Democrats had to choose between one candidate who said she’d obliterate Iran and another candidate who said he wants to invite Iranian leaders over for dinner and then maybe a chat after dinner with a good cigar—Cuban. I’d imagine. I DON’T want EITHER of those TWO answering the White House telephone AT 3 o’clock in the morning”.

    PLEASE THINK FOR YOURSELF, THESE REPUBS ARE GETTING PAID OVER TIME TO TELL YOU WHAT THEY THINK YOU WANT TO HEAR……

    June 11, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. North of the Border

    Um Donald, many elements in your country have been saying that a dialogue should begin with the Iranians....the Bush administration has CHOSEN not to have dialogue with Iran, and to my knowledge no Iraqi official has stated that the U.S. should not talk to Iran....and even if an Iraqi official had concerns about the U.S. having contact with Iran it may be because of past interference in the region and a fear that Iran and the U.S. might broker deals that impact Iraq. So I'm not quite sure what the basis of your comments are

    June 11, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. McCain for President

    Al-Maliki didn't meet with the Iranian leader without pre-conditions. The pre-condition was there would be no french kissing.

    June 11, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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