SYDNEY, Australia – Howard said “If I were running al-Qaida in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory, not only for Obama but also for the Democrats.” Australia’s conservative prime minister slammed Barack Obama on Sunday over his opposition to the Iraq war, a day after the first-term U.S. senator announced his intention to run for the White House in 2008.
Obama said Saturday at his campaign kickoff in Springfield, Ill., that one of the country’s first priorities should be ending the war in Iraq. He has also introduced a bill in the Senate to prevent President Bush from increasing American troop levels in Iraq and to remove U.S. combat forces from the country by March 31, 2008.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard, a staunch Bush ally who has sent troops to Iraq and faces his own re-election bid later this year, said Obama’s proposals would spell disaster for the Middle East.
“I think that will just encourage those who want to completely destabilize and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory,” Howard said.