Maliki Pick Angers Iraqis and Americans Alike
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s choice of Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar, a relatively unknown figure, to head the military in Baghdad has upset Iraqi military commanders and politicians. American commanders have also expressed dissatisfaction with Qanbar, due to the key role he will play in Bush’s planned escalation of the war and fears that his promotion might be motivated by a sectarian agenda.
Los Angeles Times:
BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has filled the top military job in Baghdad with a virtually unknown officer chosen over the objections of U.S. and Iraqi military commanders, officials from both governments said.
Iraqi political figures said Friday that Maliki also had failed to consult the leaders of other political factions before announcing the appointment of Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar.
The appointment is highly significant because it is Maliki’s first public move after President Bush’s announcement that he was sending more troops to Iraq. The prime mission of those troops is to reduce violence in Baghdad, much of which is blamed on sectarian fighters.
As the Iraqi commander for the capital, Qanbar would play a central role in that campaign, and any ties he might have to sectarian groups could undermine the new U.S. effort.