Iraqi Government Waits for Iraq Study Group Report

The Iraqi government is concerned that the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group may have a negative impact on the administration of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

DEBORAH AMOS, host:

Iraqi leaders are also awaiting the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group without much hope that they'll bring real change in the chaotic situation in their country. On the eve of the release of the report, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki indicated he's prepared to preempt the expected recommendations with some initiatives of is own.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Baghdad.

COREY FLINTOFF: Nouri al-Maliki is in a difficult situation. He has to retain the support of the Bush administration while convincing Iraqis that he is not just a puppet. His meeting with President Bush in Amman last week illustrates the problem. It helped to allay rumors that the U.S. has run out of patience with Maliki and would like to see him replaced. But it also prompted a boycott of parliament by members loyal to the anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Maliki, like the Bush administration, has been adamantly opposed to the expected recommendation for an international conference on the Iraq crisis. He said it would be an affront to Iraq's voters and their self-determination if the country's fate were put into the hands of outsiders. Yesterday, though, he appeared to reverse himself.

Prime Minister NOURI AL-MALIKI (Iraq): (Speaking foreign language)

FLINTOFF: Maliki told the news conference that he's already sent envoys to the neighboring Arab capitals to discuss holding a regional conference on ending the violence in Iraq. As an apparent demonstration of his independence, he said that such a conference should be held in Iraq, rejecting a suggestion from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that it would be more effective if it were held outside the war zone. Maliki didn't mention which countries would be engaged or whether the list would include Iran and Syria.

The Iraq Study Group is expected to call for a process that could lead to direct talks between the U.S. and those countries. That's something President Bush has strongly opposed and one recommendation he may not be willing to follow. At his news conference, Maliki also said that he plans to convene a national reconciliation conference later this month in an effort to bring the country's ethnic and political factions together around a common strategy for reverting an all out civil war.

Corey Flintoff, NPR News, Baghdad.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.