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Arab press attacks U.S. policy in Iraq
National - Voices of Iraq
Monday , 08 /09 /2008  Time 3:15:33
AMMAN, Sept. 8 (VOI)

Arab newspapers on Monday escalated their criticism of the U.S. policy in Iraq following an announcement made by U.S. Top Commander Gen. David Petraeus last week about a U.S. troop pullout by 2009.

The Omani al-Watan newspaper, an independent daily, said that the talks over the movement of forces coincide with preparations for the U.S. presidential elections and the negotiations over the long-term security agreement that is scheduled to take place between Washington and the Iraqi government.
Under a headline that read 'Why the talk of troop reduction in Iraq?' Khamees al-Tawbi said that the U.S. administration is trying to drum up support for its Republican candidate by promoting a troop reduction.

U.S. President George W. Bush is expected to make a statement in the coming few days about the future presence of U.S. combat troops in Iraq.

The author noted that while Bush's administration is trying to finalize the agreement as soon as possible, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government seeks to lengthen the negotiations with the U.S. side, depriving the Republicans of possible success.

A declaration of principles was signed between the U.S. president and the Iraqi premier in December 2007. The declaration was scheduled to be ratified on July 31, 2008 and to come into force as of January 1, 2009.

The agreement governs the presence of U.S. forces in the country after 2008 and will not come into force without the approval of the Iraqi Parliament, which has 275 members from five blocs, in addition to the Sadrist movement and al-Fadhila party. The U.S. troops' presence currently relies on a mandate by the United Nations and is annually renewed at the request of the Iraqi government.

In another article, the newspaper tackled Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward's new book, 'The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008,' in which he claimed that the current U.S. administration has spied on Maliki's government and used new techniques to track down and kill insurgent leaders, which led to the fall in violence in the country.

A few days ago, the Washington Post published a report in which it included excerpts from the book.
In an article entitled 'Friends' espionage' Abdullah Hammouda said that the U.S. administration did not have much confidence in Maliki and his government.

According to the author, Washington has great concerns over the real intentions of Maliki and several Iraqi politicians in light of the current dispute over the security agreement.

"The book also says that the U.S. troop 'surge' of 2007, in which President Bush sent nearly 30,000 additional U.S. combat forces and support troops to Iraq, was not the primary factor behind the steep drop in violence there during the past 16 months," the Washington Post said in its report.

"Rather, Woodward reports, 'groundbreaking' new covert techniques enabled U.S. military and intelligence officials to locate, target and kill insurgent leaders and key individuals in extremist groups such as al-Qaeda in Iraq," the newspaper added.

SS (I)

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