Thursday, January 04, 2007

Honest admission or heavy hint?

It seems well worth asking why Iraq's prime minister Nuri al-Maliki chose an interview with the Wall Street Journal to let slip that he's anxious to be shot of his job. Sure, with the events of the last few days in mind, he might really be tired of office. But Mr al-Maliki gave his interview before he could have known what a horrendous disaster Saddam's execution would turn out to be, giving a man few Iraqis surely miss the potential to assume the status of a martyr, something I admit I did not think was possible.

Rather, the timing of Mr al-Maliki's admission seems to reinforce the interesting suggestion from Anatole Kaletsky in The Times today that an unholy alliance of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States is being forged to deal with the threat posed by Shia Iran. Both Israel and the Saudis are alarmed, Kaletsky says, by the influence the Iranians now have over Washington because of the Americans' dependence on the mainly Shia government in Baghdad. Both the Saudis and the Israelis are doing all they can to force the Americans to dump Mr al-Maliki. In this light, Mr al-Maliki's slip looks like a veiled threat to the Americans to persuade them that they need him more than he needs them at the moment.

No comments: