Sunday, July 15, 2007

Iraq Prime Minister Says Iraq Can Manage Without US

Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki said yesterday that the Iraqi army and police are capable of keeping security in the country when American troops leave “any time they want,” though he acknowledged the forces need further weapons and training. The embattled prime minister sought to show confidence at a time when Congressional pressure is growing for a withdrawal and the Bush administration reported little progress had been made on the most vital of a series of political benchmarks it wants Al Maliki to carry out. Al Maliki said difficulty in enacting the measures was “natural” given Iraq's turmoil. But one of his top aides, Hassan Al Suneid, rankled at the assessment, saying the US was treating Iraq like “an experiment in an American laboratory.”
Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri Al Maliki
He criticised the US military, saying it was committing human rights violations, embarassing the Iraqi government with its tactics and cooperating with “gangs of killers” in its campaign against Al Qaeda in Iraq. In new violence in Baghdad , a car bomb leveled a two-storey apartment building, and a suicide bomber plowed his explosives-packed vehicle into a line of cars at a gas station. The two attacks killed at least eight people, police officials said. Al Maliki told reporters yesterday, “We say in full confidence that we are able, God willing, to take the responsibility completely in running the security file if the international forces withdraw at any time they want.”