Baghdad, Iraq (APE) – Struggling Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki yesterday angrily rebuked the United States for attempting to establish any sort of timetable for restoring order to Iraq. He was particularly resistant to any US interventions into how to deal with the growing Mahdi Army of one of his main political supporters, Muqtada al-Sadr. Maliki steadfastly denied being informed of a joint US Iraq raid on Mahdi Army forces yesterday in Sadr city, which many claimed resulted in the deaths of civilians.
“It is the official policy of the American government to not have any timetables where the war on terror is concerned,” stated Maliki. “I completely agree with this. Establishing a timetable would do nothing more than provide aid and comfort to the Americans and encourage them to think that they can just ‘wait it out’.”
The joint American and Iraqi special forces raid was particularly embarrassing and difficult for Maliki in that it targeted a top commander in Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army who was accused of running a Shiite death squad. Maliki largely owes his ascendancy in Iraq to the support and counsel of the firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Maliki and al-Sadr, at a joint press conference later in the day, encouraged all Iraqi’s to have faith and “stay the course” in ongoing conflicts with American forces.
The White House praised Maliki as “the right man” in Iraq, and praised his qualities as “a real decider”. They emphasized that they would continue to support him “so long as he continues to make tough decisions.”