Harper’s Magazine Washington editor Andrew Cockburn comments on the mounting pressure on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to form a less sectarian government or resign—and the meeting between the U.S. State Department’s top official in Iraq and a potential candidate to replace al-Maliki.
“Democracy Now!” reports:
A representative of the influential Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for the creation of what he described as a new “effective” government. On Thursday, The New York Times revealed the U.S. ambassador in Iraq, Robert Beecroft, and the State Department’s top official in Iraq, Brett McGurk, recently met with the controversial Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, who has been described as a potential candidate to replace al-Maliki. Chalabi is the former head of the Iraqi National Congress, a CIA-funded Iraqi exile group that strongly pushed for the 2003 U.S. invasion. The INC helped drum up pre-war claims that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction and had links to al-Qaeda. The group provided bogus intelligence to the Bush administration, U.S. lawmakers and journalists.
—Adapted from “Democracy Now!” by Alexander Reed Kelly.