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July 07, 2008

NSN Daily Update- 7/7/08
Posted by The National Security Network

Prime Minister Maliki Says that Timetable for Withdrawal Will be Part of SOFA Negotiations

Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki stated this weekend that a timetable for withdrawal will be part of an agreement to keep American forces in Iraq.  This statement combined with the conclusion by America’s Intelligence Community that Afghanistan and Pakistan represent the greatest direct danger to the United States and Admiral Mullen’s comments that he doesn’t have enough troops to fight in Afghanistan because of our commitment to Iraq, reinforce the fact that a timely withdrawal from Iraq is essential to focus on the greatest danger – Al Qaeda.  But John McCain ignores Iraqi politicians, our generals, and the intelligence community and instead insists on a large permanent presence in Iraq.

Maliki expresses desire for timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces as part of the Status of Forces Agreement.  For the first time, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki suggested that a new Security Framework Agreement with the United States could include a timetable for withdrawal of American forces.  While visiting the United Arab Emirates, Maliki said that “the current trend is to reach an agreement on a memorandum of understanding either for the departure of the forces or a memorandum of understanding to put a timetable on their withdrawal.” [Reuters, 7/7/08]

The Intelligence Community and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs agree that Iraq has diverted resources from the fight against those who attacked us on 9/11 and who continue to present the greatest direct threat to America’s security.  America’s Intelligence Community has stated that the Al Qaeda threat in Pakistan and Afghanistan represents the most direct danger to American forces.  Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen has asserted that more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan to help control an increasingly active insurgency, but due to the war in Iraq, insufficient forces are available for such action.  “I don't have troops I can reach for, brigades I can reach to send into Afghanistan until I have a reduced requirement in Iraq," Mullen said. "Afghanistan remains an economy of force campaign, which by definition means we need more forces there. We have the ability in almost every single case to win from the combat standpoint, but we don't have enough troops there to hold. That is key to the future of being able to succeed in Afghanistan.” [Washington Post 7/2/08. National Intelligence Estimate, 7/07]

McCain has ignored Iraqi politicians and American generals.  John McCain has neither a plan to bring the troops home soon nor a definition of success in Iraq. “Americans are in South Korea, Americans are in Japan, American troops are in Germany. That's all fine,” McCain said in June.  McCain advisor, Max Boot, further affirmed McCain’s Iraq position: “We need to maintain a long-term commitment in Iraq – for 100 years if need be...a long-term presence designed to reassure Iraqis of our commitment to their security against an array of enemies.” [NBC, 6/08. Max Boot, 6/08]

Quick Hits

The Indian Embassy in Kabul was the target of a suicide bombing today, killing at least 40 and wounding over 140, following suicide bombing of a mosque in Pakistan on Sunday, which killed 11. 

The price of oil closed for Independence Day weekend at a record high of $145.29 per barrel, spurring talk of prices reaching $200 per barrel by the end of the year.

According to a new Gallup poll, an overwhelming 79% majority of Americans believe the President should get the approval of Congress before sending U.S. armed forces into action outside the United States, and 70% believe congressional approval should be required before the President decides to bomb suspected terrorists.

President Bush announced last week that he will attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics despite international calls for world leaders to boycott the ceremony in protest of China’s human rights abuses.

President Bush met today with Russia’s new President, Dmitry Medvedev, calling him a “smart guy.”  The two world leaders discussed their shared views on nuclear proliferation, their differences on U.S. missile defense plans for Eastern Europe, and President Bush’s birthday yesterday.

At the Group of Eight summit in Japan, the Zimbabwean election has taken center stage as members pressed for tougher stances on Mugabe. The conference topic is expected to shift towards climate change and rising food and oil prices in the next few days, though it is unclear whether the talks will produce meaningful results. In the meantime, Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain has called for Russia to be excluded from the G8.


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