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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

So much for free democracy

Presiden Bush doesn't like the Iraqi prime-minister? That's funny because over 60 percent of the American feel the sae way about Bush.

From Today's New York Times
Senior Shiite politicians said today that the American ambassador has told Shiite officials to inform the Iraqi prime minister that President Bush does not want him to remain the country's leader in the next government.

It is the first time the Americans have directly intervened in the furious debate over the country's top job, the politicians said, and it is inflaming tensions between the Americans and some Shiite leaders.

The ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, told the head of the main Shiite political bloc at a meeting last Saturday to pass a "personal message from President Bush" on to the prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who the Shiites insist should stay in his post for four more years, said Redha Jowad Taki, a Shiite politician and member of Parliament who was at the meeting.

Ambassador Khalilzad said that President Bush "doesn't want, doesn't support, doesn't accept" Mr. Jaafari to be the next prime minister, according to Mr. Taki, a senior aide to Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Shiite bloc. It was the first "clear and direct message" from the Americans on the issue of the candidate for prime minister, Mr. Taki said.

[...]

Tensions between Shiite leaders and the American government, which had been rising for months, have boiled over following an assault Sunday night by American and Iraqi forces on a Shiite mosque in northern Baghdad. Shiite leaders say at least 17 civilians were killed in the battle, mostly political party members, while American commanders say the soldiers had fought insurgents.

The reported pressure from the American government over Mr. Jaafari's nomination is another sign of the White House's acute impatience over the deadlocked talks to form a four-year government. The nomination has become one of the most contentious issues in those talks, with the main Kurdish, Sunni Arab and secular blocs calling for the Shiites to replace Mr. Jaafari. American officials say the chronic delay in installing a government has created a power vacuum where lawlessness is thriving and a low-level civil conflict is raging.

Shiite leaders on Monday suspended their participation in the government negotiations, saying they were enraged by the mosque assault.
Meanwhile, Joe wants you to believe that things are going well in Iraq.