Today, Iraq Matters sits down with Ahmed Ali, Iraq analyst from the Institute for the Study of War, to discuss today’s meeting between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Obama. This is the first time in nearly two years these two men last sat down together. Ahmed Ali talks about what PM Maliki hopes to achieve and the opportunity that it presents for the Obama administration to reset US-Iraq relations in support of genuine peace efforts and improvements in governance.
Since the White House announced today’s meeting on October 16, 2013, there has been a great deal of buzz surrounding the meeting between Maliki and Obama. Marc Lynch, the director of Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University, provided an article detailing the issues and concerns surrounding the meeting. On October 29, the New York Times released an op-ed written by PM Maliki in which he called for the US to have patience with Iraq moving forward. However, an important counterpoint was provided by Emma Sky and Ramzy Mardin, also in the New York Times. Sky and Mardin discussed the need for Obama to press PM Maliki to adhere to democratic norms as Maliki prepares to run for a third term as Iraq’s prime minister. This past Wednesday, Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Carl Levin (D-MI), James M. Inhofe (R-OK), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), in a show of bipartisanship, sent a letter to the Obama administration outlining their concerns for today’s meeting. In the letter they urged against utilizing security solutions to fix political problems. They further stated, “if [Maliki] devises and implements a real governance strategy for Iraq, the United States is ready to provide the appropriate support…”
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The interview with Ahmed Ali starts at 3:21