Maliki slams US critics
Iraq's prime minister on Sunday slammed American critics who have called for his ouster, saying Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Carl Levin need to "come to their senses." Nouri al-Maliki, who is fighting to hold his government together, said: "There are American officials who consider Iraq as if it were one of their villages, for example Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin. They should come to their senses."
Al-Maliki maded these comments on final days before the American commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker are due in Washington to report to Congress on progress in Iraq since the introduction of 30,000 more America troops. The Shiite prime minister said a negative report by Petraeus would not cause him to change course, although he said he expected that the U.S. general would "be supportive of the government and will disappoint the politicians who are relying on it" to be negative.
According to the AP, Al-Maliki also criticized some U.S. military actions. "Concerning American raids on Shula (a northern Shiite neighborhood) and Sadr City (the Shiite slum enclave in east Baghdad). There were big mistakes committed in these operations. The terrorist himself should be targeted not his family.
"When they want to detain one person, they should not kill 10 others. These are mistakes which we have to deal with. We will not allow the detaining of innocent people. Only the criminals should be detained," al-Maliki declared.
Meanwhile, waves of Shiite pilgrims descended on Karbala on Sunday for a festival marking the birth of the 9th century Hidden Imam. A woman making the 50-mile trek from Baghdad was shot to death by men in a passing car in the southwest of the capital.
More than a million Shiite faithful from throughout the world were expected to converge on the Shiite holy city for the celebrations, which reach their high point late Tuesday and early Wednesday.