Thursday, October 13, 2011

Are U.S. goals in Iraq realistic?

What kind of ally has Washington gained in Baghdad?

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki spent his years of exile in Syria. As noted in Sunday's Washington Post, Maliki made clear in a televised interview Sept. 30 that he supports the increasingly brutal Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, which the U.S. opposes.

The Maliki government has also bucked the United States by supporting the Palestinian effort to gain membership in the United Nations and even Iran's assertion that it has the right to nuclear technology.

One bright spot for Washington: Iraq's heavy purchase of almost $12 billion in American weaponry, including the late-September announcement of 18 F-16 fighters valued at $3 billion. The aircraft would be part of the program to provide Iraq with the means to protect its airspace from outside intrusions or attacks.