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

Blitzer: Awkward Iraq news for McCain campaign

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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. Enlightened Voter

    What were you saying again mcwar? And you've got all that experience...right??? And you know foreign policy...right?

    June 11, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Swiss in Canada

    Welcome Hillary Supporters:
    You know, I am a VERY old woman. But his is the dumbest comment I EVER red in my whole life..... I honestly did not know people can be so stupid....

    June 11, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Obama For President


    June 11, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. annick, MD

    This is going to turn like another VietNam war . BO or JM, get our troops out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 11, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Peter

    So how safer are you now? With your ally in fighting terror kissing your worst nightmare enemy. I do not understand that even after Bush losing 4000+ courageous men and sinking his country deep into debt he can still hope to be in Iraq indefinitely. What he did in effect build up Iran and now McCain wants to continue this type of war. I really do not understand what is there to gain for being in Iraq when even oil is at $135 dollars per barel. I think the next us president should just pull their troops back home and work on reducing tensions in middle east alongside other world powers which in turn would reduce price of oil. You have the chance in November better late than ever.

    June 11, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Paris

    To a Voice from Iran:
    Maybe because Iran is funding terrorism around the world.
    Because Iran is supplying weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah.
    Because Iran is planning a nuclear attack on Israel.
    Because there is no freedom of speech or press in Iran and journalists are being jailed and torture.
    Because mullahs are draining Iran of its national resources and betraying the Iranian nation for their own purpose.
    Because 90% of the nation is against the government of Iran but are afraid for their lives to act.
    Because human rights doesn’t mean nothing in Iran.
    And much more than I don’t have time to write them all.

    If Iran wasn’t such unstable and violent government they could have nuclear power but Iranian government can’t be trusted.

    And I am talking from experience.

    June 11, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |

    Ah, you don't actually expect McCain to comment on this do you? He's too busy whining about Johnson (when he's got some of the slimiest lobbyists RUNNING his campaign). Anyway...if he did comment, he'd just deny it or forget about it by tomorrow, so why bother.

    McCain would make a worse president than Bush – and I didn't actually think that was possible. But every day McCain's "gaffes", "misstatements" alzheimers moments are making Bush look like a regular Einstein in comparison. This man is a danger to our country.

    June 11, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Fred Flintstone

    Seems interesting how McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years, yet you have the Prime Minister and people closes to him telling the U.S. that we don't want you in our country anymore. So, why then is McCain saying that we should stay for the defense of Iraq if they don't want us there? they obviously don't want us so bring the troops home and let them fend for themselves. Also, to all the people who can't get over the fact that Obama actually wants to TALK with PEOPLE and form new alliances. Why are people afraid of him talking to other countries in order to secure the U.S. or is this country gone down the pot and thinks because we think we have the bigger guns we should use them? In the famous words of Gandhi "an eye for an eye only makes the world blind."

    Choke on that slappy

    June 11, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Angela Frazier, Memphis TN

    Guess they are all a bunch of appeasers!! But seriously, how many ways do these people have to ask us to leave?!?

    June 11, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Brandon Hillary Democrat for Mc Cain

    I suppose meeting with all the totalitarian dictators is better policy?
    Obama is the biggest fairy tale one that will not be ending happily ever after.

    June 11, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Obama For President


    June 11, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Joe, Northern Virginia

    The Iraqis are beginning to realize that they can not live in isolation from their neighbors ... not even with a permanent American protection. And they also are realizing that engaging in diplomatic dialogue with other countries in that region will not only make them safer but it will also strengthen their economy. It is only the Iraqis who can safeguard the security of their country and its people. I Wish them well and hope they continue to diplomatically engage their neighbors.

    June 11, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Thall999

    Maybe McSame should ask Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did he have PRE-CONDITIONS for embracing and kissing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Maybe McSame would find out that those preconditions were that they BOTH agreed to s-c-r-e-w us Amercians and work together to accomplish that goal.

    It seems WE are the last to know that we are the 3rd Wheel in the affair!

    Obama '08 , He knows this isn't just a DATE! We need to get the h-e-l-l OUT!

    June 11, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Kiah

    Don...try again!

    June 11, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Vote McCain '08

    Get-A-Grip Becky! You people need to put aside the issue of "Why we are at war" and start working on your gripes as to the steps we need to take now to finish the war. The past is over, face the future. At this point it makes no difference whether Bush is impeached or not.(that would have never worked anyway) You as well as many other democrats should start preparing for change. Your an hOBO supporter so vote for him and let the Government take care of you via Government programs. The best you could do is join the working folks and support yourself, stop your complaining and VOTE McCain!

    June 11, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Robert of Los Angeles

    Hello, ethnically insensitive – Middle East leaders have a protocol of kissing. They respect Westerners resistance to performing this but do insist upon handholding as we have seen countless times.

    Hello, action speak louder than words. Of course, Maliki wants no open war with his neighbor, and yet – everyday in taking Special Group militia and interdicting supplies from Iran the Iraqi Army and Government is aware of and is striking back at IRAN's attack on them.

    How dare Iran's supreme leaders say a US security agreement is the worst thing for Iraq. A Persian puppet Shia theocracy, with renewed civil war against that by Sunnis and Kurds would be the worst thing.

    Stay the course everyone. Europe's on our side. The Sunni states are on our side. Iraq's coming together before our eyes. Only petrodollars are propping Mahmoud up but soon his comeuppance.

    June 11, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Doc Sinn

    He is vetoing beer. Nuff Said

    Obama '08

    June 11, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. ENOUGH

    Ah...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."

    You do know that McSames campaign is virtually run by lobbyists, right? You'd much rather have lobbyists forming policy like they are with McCain, right?

    June 11, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Lucky

    How about Obama fist bumps with the terrorists? Impressive!

    June 11, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. Boomer

    I love the" Welcome to Hillary supporters" message! If any of her supporters were actually thinking of supporting Bush 3 (McSame), surely that bigoted rant sent them fleeing back to the Democratic Party!

    June 11, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. M&M

    To - A voice from Iran – your answer is very simple. Iran is a dictatorship and will destroy itself and the Middle East if they have nuclear bomb. They meddling in Iraq because it's not in mullahs interest to see a prospers democracy in Iraq.

    June 11, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. D T Chicago

    Seems that Mccain is "confused" about Iraq & Iran again. Time to go back to his medical records? What's up?

    June 11, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. Susan

    Let's all sit down and have a good chat over a cup of coffee. That should fix it, eh, Obama?

    June 11, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. britney spears

    Don June 11th, 2008 3:48 pm ET

    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.


    Don is more concerned with Jim Johnson getting a low mortgage rate than our soldiers dying on a daily basis in Iraq.

    Because Don is a moron.....

    June 11, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Proud American

    Wow!!!! Incredible logic. Its ok for those who are in bed with us to talk to engage in talk with our so called enemies. But its not ok for us to have any communication or dialogue with our so called enemies? I'm missing something? Oh yeah lets not think America lets just go shopping.

    June 11, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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