Aide to Iraq PM: U.S. army embarrasses government
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the Iraqi army and police are capable of keeping security in the country when American forces leave "any time they want."
Al-Maliki told a Baghdad press conference that his government needs "time and effort" to enact the political reforms that Washington seeks - "particularly since the political process is facing security, economic and services pressures, as well as regional and international interference."
"These difficulties can be read as a big success, not negative points, when they are viewed under the shadow of the big challenges," he said.
But one of Al-Maliki top aides, Hassan al-Suneid, was quoted as saying the U.S. was treating Iraq like "an experiment in an American laboratory
." He sharply criticised the U.S. military, saying it was committing human rights violations, embarassing the Iraqi government with its tactics and cooperating with "gangs of killers" in its campaign against al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Al-Suneid, a Shiite lawmaker close to al-Maliki, told The Associated Press
that al-Maliki has problems with the top U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus, who works along a "purely American vision."
He criticized U.S. overtures to Sunni groups in Anbar and Diyala, encouraging former "insurgents" to join the fight against al-Qaida in Iraq. "These are gangs of killers," he said.
"There are disagreements that the strategy that Petraeus is following might succeed in confronting al-Qaida in the early period but it will leave Iraq an armed nation, an armed society and militias," said al-Suneid.
He said that the U.S. authorities have embarrassed al-Maliki's government through acts such as constructing a wall around Baghdad's Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah and repeated raids on suspected Shiite militiamen in the capital's eastern slum of Sadr City. He said the U.S. use of airstrikes to hit suspected insurgent positions also kills civilians.
"This embarrasses the government in front of its people," he said, calling the civilian deaths a "human rights violation."
© 2007 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)