June 11th, 2008
03:42 PM ET
12 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. Matt

    Wow.

    A quick diversion from Obama's latest controversial buddy by throwing out some propaganda?

    CNN is really losing it. But I gave up on you back in '04 when you started giving Kerry talking points on a daily basis.

    June 11, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. KP

    Nick come clean. We know what you're really thinking. Cindy McCain and her 100 million plus couldn't care less about the average American unless they're a beer drinker.

    Obama for America and America for Obama!

    June 11, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. Down with Obama

    I agree, Iraq does need to work for peace with Iran!!!

    June 11, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. Becky

    To "Welcome Hillary Supporters": and your comment on: "3) keep fighting the good fight in Iraq for as long as it takes – remember 9/11 and what we are fighting for!"

    ...sorry to inform you that you've been BRAINWASHED!! As someone else simply put it, Iraq War *does not* equal 9/11. Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden are not the same people. Bush wanted to get rid of Saddam WWWWWAAAAYYYYYYY before 9/11 and the war was his excuse. BUSH SHOULD BE IMPEACHED.

    CNN, please stop posting "Welcome Hillary Supporters" comment because it's starting to look like spam. It's like the 3rd identical post today, at least. Should I begin advertising the selling of washing machines while I'm here?

    June 11, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Gerry

    Embarrasing is an understatement. This proves Iraq want the US out. Why isn't McCain and Bush listening

    June 11, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. Alice in Florida

    So what? Obama wants to meet with ALL the world's terrorists. Maybe they'll all sing the Barney Song together, or Barack can dazzle them with one of his speeches.

    McCain '08, Clinton '12

    June 11, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. george rouse

    men kissing men in muslim countries is part of the culture. liberals seem to be crying for the unitied states of america to open talks with iran and it's president...so why are the liberals shocked by the president of iraq kissing the president of iran? what gives?

    June 11, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. Justin

    What it is time to do is let Iraq build itself. The US, thanks to Bush and his idiocy, has to stay and ensure that the infrastructure remains intact.

    What Bush is doing by rebuilding that country to resemble the US is outrageous. McCain, by endorsing this failure, should be put in the nearest retirement home and left to continue his aging views of divide and conquer [the US citizens].

    June 11, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Obama For President

    This Is Tied Directly To The Mccain Campaign! Mccain Has Lost Touch With Everything! The Bush And Mccain Policies Have Made Iran Stronger! Now They Will Try To Use Those Same Policies To Say Look How Strong Iran Is Now. . . We Need To Go To War With Them! This Is How This War Lover Would Govern! Mccain Loves War!

    June 11, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. Richard, FL

    John McCain can't remember the difference between Sunnis and Shias. He can't remember what he said last week on tape about Hillary. He didn't know that we actually have more troops in Iraq since the surge started. He thinks it's "not important" when our troops come home. He jumps on Obama about talking to our enemy, but he hasn't said anything about when our allies do it.

    We need a president who is extremely smart not one who constantly is wrong. We need someone who graduated magna cum laude and not someone who finished a miserable #894 out of 899 like McCain.

    June 11, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Concerned Canadian

    YOu Know, It is not the Iranians that do not belong in Iraq, They are neighbors, after all.

    June 11, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    "Brian from California June 11th, 2008 4:02 pm ET
    Dear voice of Iran. I have a lot more faith in my country than I will ever have for the radicals of Iran. My concern during this Presidential election year is HOW RADICAL is BARACK H. OBAMA. He may be the best thing that ever happened to those that hate us. All our gains will be lost to Barack's cowardly weakness."
    -----------------
    I was more afraid about Bush's foreign policy. And I was right.
    I don't think Obama can make things any worse. The only way he could make it worse is if he continues Bush's policies.

    In general, when one makes a mistake, no matter how large, the first step is to stop and reverse.

    The Iraq war was a mistake, and we should stop and reverse. That's just fundamental common sense that every first-grader already knows.

    Unfortunately, George Bush doesn't know (or doesn't care).

    June 11, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. J.C.

    Of course, Iran won as we got rid of Hussein for them.
    There is no reason to get all upset when the two leaders were hugging each other. They believe in the same religion and all that.

    June 11, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Jerry in Fresno

    Mr. Ahmadinejad will make a public political castrati out of McCain just as he has Bush.

    June 11, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. McCain08

    McCain by a landslide. The light has come on for most Hillary supporters and they have no fear in voting the one who is right and that is John McCain. 1 Man 1Woman 4ever.
    We are winning the war in Iraq and will do the same in Iran. Iran must go down and we will show the rest of the world that America is not to be messed with. I Iran we are coming for ya.
    With a chance to replace 2 or more Supreme Court Justices we will have our best chance to overturn Roe V Wade.
    Vote life vote McCain08
    See you soon Iran

    June 11, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. Krissy

    "OOPS! Gotcha McCain, what are you going to say about Obama wanting to sit down and talk to Iran's leader NOW? "

    Exactly.

    June 11, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. D.Johnson

    This does not come has a surprise, doesn't it? I mean the 80% of Iraqis want us out of the country anyway and fifty percent says it is ok to kill an American soldier. we just wasting our young men and women lives, wealth and resources in that country. How can you ask a man to die for a person who says it is ok to kill him? It doesn't make sense!

    June 11, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Jackie

    For the poster that said he is more worried about Jim Johnson then Iran/Iraq – well this is why were are are in the state that we are in. And for the poster who asked about Cindy McCain – nobody hates her, there is nothing to hate. She is like a stepford wife, with that fake smile on plastered across her face.

    I am afraid this over the top patriotism is going to bring this country down. We are so blinded by this that we can't see what is going on in the rest of the world. Quite frankly it scares that me that I as American born and raised can't say what i want about my country and my fellow citizens.

    June 11, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Nothing unusual about them kissing in public, holding hands, and hugging in friendship.

    Arab leaders have been doing it for centuries–just before they cut their throats and steal their wealth.

    June 11, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Jeff in Illinois

    We need not worry about McCain's opinions on any of this. Come November, he will be known only as "The Neoconservative Former Senator of Arizona, John 'Keating 5' McCain".

    June 11, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. AV

    Um...here's a good question:

    Why is this buried on the political ticker? Why isn't this a top story? Looks like the supposed "liberal media" must've dropped the ball, eh? Imagine that? How could an entity that is purportedly so "liberal" as the US news media (to include CNN) have missed an opportunity to point out the new Shi'a government in Iraq is getting all buddy-buddy with the Shi'a government of Iran? This is stunning...it almost makes me think that, God forbid, those conservative pundits have been lying all along, and the "liberal media" is a myth, just like Noam Chomsky said. Perish the thought!

    June 11, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. CW4Barak

    Ha, ha....America's chickens are coming home to roost. Even the countries that are our sworn enemies know they have to practice diplomacy by talking to each other. Senor Old and Deluded, doesn't think people should talk but rather should just fight. If he had served in the marines or the army and was actually on the ground doing the dirty work, then he would sing a different tune, but since he was in a airplane flying around and then got imprisoned almost the whole length of the Vietnam war, while others were out fighting, dying and losing limbs....its easy for him to say....I will never surrender defeat or retreat....even though he can't show how he is going to win! Obama is definitely the future for this country. GOD help us all if McBush is elected!

    Obama '08!

    June 11, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    "Alice in Florida June 11th, 2008 4:10 pm ET
    So what? Obama wants to meet with ALL the world's terrorists. Maybe they'll all sing the Barney Song together, or Barack can dazzle them with one of his speeches.
    McCain '08, Clinton '12"
    ---------
    Even that would be a vast improvement on what we have now!
    I suppose John McCain would change things by not calling them "my friends". Instead, he'll call them "my enemies", while Hillary looks for a kitchen sink to throw at them!

    "Shame on you, Kim Jung Il!" 🙂

    June 11, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. jack

    Proof Positive! McCain and Bush are the Same.

    If Iraquis can kiss the face of Iran...can't we at least sit in the same room, we don't have to shake hands or kiss both cheeks but we can at least have a conversation.

    The failure of this adminstration to at least do that is why Americans need to "turn the page" and open a new chapter in American diplomacy.

    June 11, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. LB

    Since Iraq and Iran and not only talking but hugging and kissing each other, that sure makes a fool of out of touch McCain who is always bad mouthing Obama because he wants to have talks with other countries to have peace and McCain keeps saying NO NO NO, bad idea. So much for his bad idea, Iraq and Iran just proved McCain wrong on this thinking again. And McCain is suppose to be running on his military and foreign policies. It's not 1960 any more John Boy! You ways are out of date.

    June 11, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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