Iraqi Pols Respond to Elections
Americans weren’t the only ones watching election returns late into the night. Iraqi politicians, dependent on America for money, power and protection, held a meeting to debate the impact of a Democratic Congress.
Los Angeles Times:
In government offices shielded by concrete blast walls, some Iraqi officials appeared concerned Wednesday that the power shift in the U.S. Congress and the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld could effect major changes in policy toward their bloodied nation.
Members of Iraq’s dominant Shiite Muslim political bloc said worries were raised at a closed-door caucus that the Democrats’ ascent on Capitol Hill could hasten the departure of U.S. troops and stem the flow of funds to their beleaguered government while insurgent and sectarian violence rages.
U.S. officials had already brought up the possibility of reducing aid to Iraq. The issue came up during meetings to persuade Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to accept timelines to make tough security and political decisions, such as dismantling Shiite militias blamed for nightly killing rampages against Sunni Arabs, who make up the backbone of the insurgency.
“Whoever will be in the House should now keep the promises that were made to Iraq regarding the arming of security forces, rebuilding Iraq and supporting the political process,” said an anxious Diyadhin Fayadh, a Shiite cleric and member of the United Iraqi Alliance parliamentary bloc.