Bush Opposes Jaafari as Iraq’s Next Leader, Say Shiites
Posted on Mar 29, 2006
The U.S. ambassador has told Shiite officials that the president does not want Ibrahim al-Jaafari to remain in power, mocking the notion that U.S.-sponsored elections were intended to give Iraqis control over their government.
BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 28—The American ambassador has told Shiite officials that President Bush does not want the Iraqi prime minister to remain the country’s leader in the next government, senior Shiite politicians said Tuesday.
It is the first time the Americans have directly expressed a preference 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 on Saturday to pass on a “personal message from President Bush” to the interim prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, said Redha Jowad Taki, a Shiite member of Parliament who was at the meeting.