NPR logo

Iraq's Talabani Calls Report Dangerous, Insulting

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6606168/6606169" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Iraq's Talabani Calls Report Dangerous, Insulting

Iraq's Talabani Calls Report Dangerous, Insulting

Iraq's Talabani Calls Report Dangerous, Insulting

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6606168/6606169" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Iraq's President Jalal Talabani blasted the report of the Iraq Study Group on Sunday, calling it unjust and dangerous to the sovereignty of his country.

Talabani, an Iraqi Kurd, has his own reasons for disliking the panel's recommendations, but his rejection puts him in the same camp as some powerful Shiite leaders.

President Talabani appeared on Iraqi television to denounce the study group's report in no uncertain terms.

"I consider the Baker-Hamilton report to be an insult to the Iraqi people," he said. "The commission doesn't have the right to threaten us. We are an independent country."

Talabani is from Iraqi Kurdistan, which fought hard to protect its autonomy during the framing of the country's new constitution.

Kurds and Shiites object to provisions in the Iraq Study Group's report that could lead to reopening the constitutional debate and concentrating more power in the central government.

"This report doesn't meet our needs, because it was written by people from outside, people who live in a normal environment, not this environment," said Abu Mojtaba, a spokesman for the Sadrist movement, which is loyal to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. His group is resistant to any change that might loosen Shiite control of the government.

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of Iraq's most powerful Shiite political party, said the report contained inaccurate information based on dishonest sources. Many Shiites believe the report is biased in favor of Iraq's minority Sunnis.

Hakim has been in the United States for a meeting with President Bush.

He told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the report does have positive aspects:

"One of them is the statement in favor of national reconciliation," Hakim said. "That's something the Iraqi government is doing on its own."

But at home in Iraq, Hakim is also on record as rejecting many of the study group's proposals.

President Bush has already said that the Iraq Study Group's report is only one of several sources of advice that he'll consider, but President Talabani believes it won't have much influence on the American leader.

"I think President George Bush is a principled man," Talabani said. "He insists that Iraq's democracy must be a success, and his policy will not change until the end of his term."