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July 20, 2008
REPORTS THAT MALIKI ENDORSED THE OBAMA TROOP-WITHDRAWAL TIMELINE turn out to be in error, which should come as no great surprise to those who have been paying attention.
UPDATE: Does this mean that Maliki wants us to stay? Not necessarily. This StrategyPage item that I linked the other day explains. Too much U.S. presence might interfere with corruption! "As long as the American troops are in the country, auditors have armed protection and can be very effective at revealing the thefts and getting the thieves punished. This makes thieving government officials very uncomfortable. Corruption in general remains a major problem (as it is in all Middle Eastern countries). While many Iraqis would like to see clean government, they are usually not the ones who get elected (elections involve a lot of bribery and trading of favors.)"
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch emails:
"While many Iraqis would like to see clean government, they are usually not the ones who get elected." Just like it is here!
My own sense is that politicians are the same everywhere. To the extent their behavior differs, it's because of social and political constraints on what they can get away with.