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Nouri al-Maliki

Nouri al-Maliki

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Nouri Kamil Mohammed Hasan al-Maliki ( ; born June 20, 1950), also known as Jawad al-Maliki or Abu Esraa, is the Prime Minister of Iraq
Prime Minister of Iraq
The Prime Minister of Iraq is Iraq's head of government. Prime Minister was originally an appointed office, subsidiary to the head of state, and the nominal leader of the Iraqi parliament. Under the newly adopted constitution the Prime Minister is to be the country's active executive authority...

 and the secretary-general of the Islamic Dawa Party
Islamic Dawa Party
The Islamic Dawa Party or Islamic Call Party is a political party in Iraq. Dawa and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council are two of the main parties in the religious-Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, which won a plurality of seats in both the provisional January 2005 Iraqi election and the longer-term...

. Al-Maliki and his government
Government of Iraq from 2006
The current government of Iraq took office on May 20, 2006 following approval by the members of the Iraqi National Assembly. This followed the general election in December 2005...

 succeeded the Iraqi Transitional Government
Iraqi Transitional Government
The Iraqi Transitional Government was the government of Iraq from May 3rd, 2005, when it replaced the Iraqi Interim Government, until May 20th, 2006, when it was replaced by the first permanent government....

. He is currently in his second term as Prime Minister. His first Cabinet was approved by the National Assembly
National Assembly of Iraq
The Council of Representatives of Iraq is the main elected body of representatives in Iraq. It is currently composed of 325 seats and meets in Baghdad inside the International Zone . It is governed by bylaws that can be found -The monarchy:...

 and sworn in on May 20, 2006; his second Cabinet, in which he also holds the positions of acting Interior Minister, acting Defense Minister, and acting National Security Minister, was approved on December 21, 2010.

Al-Maliki began his political career as a Shia dissident under Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

's administration in the late 1970s and rose to prominence after he fled a death sentence into exile for 24 years. During his time abroad, he became a senior leader of Dawa, coordinated the activities of anti-Saddam guerillas and built relationships with Iranian and Syrian officials whose help he sought in overthrowing Saddam.

Early life and education


Al-Maliki was born in Janaja village in Abu Gharaq, a central Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i town situated between Karbala
Karbala
Karbala is a city in Iraq, located about southwest of Baghdad. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, and has an estimated population of 572,300 people ....

 and Al Hillah. He is a member of the Al-Ali Tribe
Al-Ali (tribe)
Al-Ali is an Arab tribe a branch of Bani Malik originally from Central Arabia. Most of the tribe migrated by the end of 16th century from what is now Saudi Arabia to different neighboring countries.Members of Al-Ali tribe live in Saudi Arabia , the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and Jordan...

, an offshoot of the Bani Malik
Bani Malik (tribe)
Bani Malik or Banu Malik is one of the major Arab tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. They are descendants of Malik al-Ashtar who fought with Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of prophet Mohammad...

 tribe. He attended school in Al Hindiyah (Hindiya
Hindiya
Al-Hindiya or Hindiya is a city in Iraq on the Euphrates River. Nouri al Maliki went to school there in his younger days. Al-Hindiya is located in the Kerbala Governorate...

). Al-Maliki received a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 at Usul al-Din College in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, and a master's degree
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 in Arabic literature
Arabic literature
Arabic literature is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by writers in the Arabic language. The Arabic word used for literature is adab which is derived from a meaning of etiquette, and implies politeness, culture and enrichment....

 from Baghdad University. Al-Maliki lived for a time in Al Hillah, where he worked in the education department. He joined the Islamic Dawa Party in the late 1960s while studying at university. His grandfather, Muhammad Hasan Abi al-Mahasin
Muhammad Hasan Abi al-Mahasin
Muhammad Hassan Abi Al-Mahasin Al-Karbala'ie Al-Maliki was an Iraqi poet and politician. He was one of the leaders of the Iraqi revolution against the British occupation during and after the First World War. Muhammad Hasan Abi al-Mahasin was the president of the Revolutionary Council then in 1920...

, was a poet and cleric who was the representative of the Revolutionary Council (Al-Majlis Al-Milli) of the Iraqi revolution against the British in 1920, and served as Iraq's Minister of Education under King Faisal I.

On April 26, 2006, al-Maliki stopped using the pseudonym
Pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

 Jawad. However, the pseudo- or code name "Abu Esraa" (father of Esraa - his eldest daughter) is still heard on Iraqi satellite media every now and then, because it is very common in Arabic culture (and in Iraqi culture in particular) to call someone with his eldest son/daughter's name especially by his close friends and followers. Al-Maliki is married to Faleeha Khalil, with whom he had four daughters and two sons.

Exile and return to Iraq


On July 16, 1979, al-Maliki fled Iraq after he was discovered to be a member of the outlawed Islamic Dawa Party
Islamic Dawa Party
The Islamic Dawa Party or Islamic Call Party is a political party in Iraq. Dawa and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council are two of the main parties in the religious-Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, which won a plurality of seats in both the provisional January 2005 Iraqi election and the longer-term...

. According to a brief biography on the Islamic Dawa Party's website, he left Iraq via Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 in October, and soon moved to Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, adopting the pseudonym "Jawad." He left Syria for Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 in 1982, where he lived in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 until 1990, before returning to Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 where he remained until U.S. coalition forces invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam's regime in 2003
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. While living in Syria, he worked as a political officer for Dawa, developing close ties with Hezbollah and particularly with Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, supporting that country's effort to topple Saddam's regime.

While living in Damascus, al-Maliki edited the party newspaper Al-Mawqif and rose to head the party's Damascus branch. In 1990, he joined the Joint Action Committee and served as one of its rotating chairman. The committee was a Damascus-based opposition coalition for a number of Hussein's opponents. The Dawa Party participated in the Iraqi National Congress between 1992 and 1995, withdrawing because of disagreements over who should head it.
Upon his return to his native Iraq after the fall of Saddam, al-Maliki became the deputy leader of the Supreme National Debaathification Commission of the Iraqi Interim Government
Iraqi Interim Government
The Iraqi Interim Government was created by the United States and its coalition allies as a caretaker government to govern Iraq until the Iraqi Transitional Government was installed following the Iraqi National Assembly election conducted on January 30, 2005...

, formed to purge former Baath Party
Baath Party
The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party was a political party mixing Arab nationalist and Arab socialist interests, opposed to Western imperialism, and calling for the renaissance or resurrection and unification of the Arab world into a single state. Ba'ath is also spelled Ba'th or Baath and means...

 officials from the military and government. He was elected to the transitional National Assembly
National Assembly of Iraq
The Council of Representatives of Iraq is the main elected body of representatives in Iraq. It is currently composed of 325 seats and meets in Baghdad inside the International Zone . It is governed by bylaws that can be found -The monarchy:...

 in January 2005. He was a member of the committee that drafted the new constitution
Constitution of Iraq
The Constitution of Iraq is Iraq's fundamental law.-History:Iraq's first constitution, which established a constitutional monarchy, entered into force under the auspices of a British military occupation in 1925 and remained in effect until the 1958 revolution established a republic...

 that was passed in October 2005.

Premiership


In the December 2005 parliamentary elections, the United Iraqi Alliance
United Iraqi Alliance
The National Iraqi Alliance , also known as the Watani List, is an Iraqi electoral coalition that contested the Iraqi legislative election, 2010. The Alliance is mainly composed of Shi'a Islamist parties...

 won the plurality of seats, and nominated Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Ibrahim abd al-Karim Hamzah al-Eshaiker al-Jafari is an Iraqi politician who was Prime Minister of Iraq in the Iraqi Transitional Government from 2005 to 2006, following the January 2005 election. He was previously one of the two Vice-Presidents of Iraq under the Iraqi Interim Government from 2004...

 to be Iraq's first full-term post-war prime minister. In April 2006, amid mounting criticism of ineffective leadership and favoritism by Kurdish
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

 and Sunni Arab politicians in parliament, al-Jaafari was forced from power. On April 22, 2006, following close U.S. involvement in the selection of a new prime minister, al-Maliki's name arose from the four that had been interviewed by the CIA on their connections to Iran (the others being Hussein al-Shahristani, Ali al-Adeeb, and one other). United States Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad
Zalmay Khalilzad
Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad is a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and president of Khalilzad Associates, an international business consulting firm based in Washington, DC. He was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush...

 said that "[Maliki's] reputation is as someone who is independent of Iran." Khalilzad also maintained that Iran "pressured everyone for Jaafari to stay."
On May 20, 2006, al-Maliki presented his Cabinet
Council of Ministers of Iraq
The Cabinet of Iraq is the executive branch of the government of Iraq.The National Assembly of Iraq elects a President of State who along with two deputies form the Presidency Council. The Presidency Council appoints the Prime Minister who appoints the Council of Ministers, all of whom must be...

 to Parliament, minus permanent ministers of Defense and of Interior. He announced that he would temporarily handle the Interior Ministry himself, and Salam al-Zobaie would temporarily act as Defense Minister. "We pray to God almighty to give us strength so we can meet the ambitious goals of our people who have suffered a lot," al-Maliki told the members of the assembly.
In May 2007, Dawa removed Jaafari and elected Maliki as Secretary-General of the Dawa Party.

During his first term, al-Maliki vowed to crack down on insurgents who he called "organised armed groups who are acting outside the state and outside the law." He had been criticized for taking too long to name permanent Interior and Defense ministers, which he did on June 8, 2006, just as al-Maliki and the Americans announced the killing of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ; October 30, 1966 – June 7, 2006), born Ahmad Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh was a Jordanian militant Islamist who ran a paramilitary training camp in Afghanistan...

.

Meanwhile, al-Maliki criticized coalition armed forces as reports of allegedly deliberate killings of Iraqi civilians (at Haditha
Haditha
Haditha is a city in the western Iraqi Al Anbar Governorate, about 240 km northwest of Baghdad. It is a farming town situated on the Euphrates River at . Its population of around 100,000 people is predominantly Sunni Muslim Arabs...

 and elsewhere) became known. He has been quoted as saying, "[t]his is a phenomenon that has become common among many of the multinational forces. No respect for citizens, smashing civilian cars and killing on a suspicion or a hunch. It's unacceptable." According to Ambassador Khalilzad, al-Maliki had been misquoted, but it was unclear in what way.

On December 30, 2006, al-Maliki signed the death warrant of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 and declined a stay of execution, saying there would be “no review or delay” in the event. Citing the wishes of relatives of Hussein's victims, he said, “Our respect for human rights requires us to execute him.” Hussein's execution was carried out on December 30, 2006 (notably, the first Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 day of the feast of Eid ul-Adha
Eid ul-Adha
Eid al-Adha or "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep— to sacrifice...

).
After only two years, as of late 2008, the al-Malki government has witnessed improvements in the security situation in many parts of the country. In Baghdad, a peace deal signed between Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army
Mahdi Army
The Mahdi Army, also known as the Mahdi Militia or Jaish al-Mahdi , was an Iraqi paramilitary force created by the Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in June 2003....

 and the government had eased tensions, though sporadic sectarian incidents continued, as did occasional fighting between U.S. forces and Shiite militiamen, particularly in Sadr City
Sadr City
Sadr City is a suburb district of the city of Baghdad, Iraq. It was built in 1959 by Prime Minister Abdul Karim Qassim and later unofficially renamed Sadr City after deceased Shia leader Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr....

.
Maliki's job was complicated by the balance of power within parliament, with his position relying on the support of two Shiite blocs, Sadr's and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim
Sayyed Abdul Aziz al-Hakim was an Iraqi theologian and politician and the leader of Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a party that enjoys approximately 5% support in the Iraqi Council of Representatives....

, that his Dawa party has often been at odds with. Progress has also frequently been blocked by Sunni Arab politicians who allege that the dominant Shiite parties are pursuing sectarian advantage.
Maliki has had some success in finding compromise. In July 2008 al-Maliki, who earlier in the year fought off a recall effort in parliament, convinced Sunni politicians to end a year-long boycott of the chamber and appointed some of them to cabinet positions. Analysts said the return of the Sunnis was made possible by the security gains under al-Maliki and by apparent progress in negotiations with the U.S. over American military withdrawal.
Early in his term, al-Maliki was criticized by some for alleged reluctance to tackle Shiite militias. In 2006 he complained about an American raid against a Shiite militia leader because he said it had been conducted without his approval. In 2007, unnamed US military officers alleged al-Maliki was replacing Iraqi commanders who had cracked down on Shiite militias with party loyalists. A al-Maliki spokesman denied the allegation.
He has had, at times, a contentious relationship with the press. On August 24, 2006, he banned television channels from broadcasting images of bloodshed in the country and warned of legal action against those violating the order. Major General Rashid Flayah, head of a national police division added "...We are building the country with Kalashnikovs
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

 and you should help in building it with the use of your pen". The international Committee to Protect Journalists
Committee to Protect Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent nonprofit organisation based in New York City that promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists.-History:A group of U.S...

 (CPJ) wrote to al-Maliki complaining of a "disturbing pattern of restrictions on the press" and of the "imprisonment, intimidation, and censorship of journalists."
Maliki has spoken about the need to make a secure and sustainable environment for investment in order for successful reconstruction and has enacted new investment laws to try to achieve this. He has also acknowledged Iraq’s unfortunate reliance on oil to finance reconstruction thus far, although the revenue has begun to be spent on other possible revenue sources including agriculture and energy.
On January 2, 2007, the Wall Street Journal published an interview with al-Maliki in which he said he wished he could end his term before it expires in 2009.

On December 21, 2010, al-Maliki's government was unanimously approved by parliament more than 9 months after the Iraqi parliamentary election, 2010. On February 5, 2011, a spokesperson for al-Maliki said he will not run for a third term in 2014 limiting himself in the name of democracy in a nod to the protests sweeping the Arab nations.

Relationship with U.S.


In an interview published by the German magazine Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. It is one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of more than one million.-Overview:...

in June 2008, al-Maliki said that a schedule for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country of "about 16 months... would be the right time-frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes." In the interview, he said the U.S. government has been reluctant to agree to a timetable "because they feel it would appear tantamount to an admission of defeat. But that isn't the case at all... it is not evidence of a defeat, but of a victory, of a severe blow we have inflicted on Al Qaeda and the militias." He said U.S. negotiators were coming around to his point of view.
Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin
Carl Levin
Carl Milton Levin is a Jewish-American United States Senator from Michigan, serving since 1979. He is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. He is a member of the Democratic Party....

 were two of several U.S. politicians who called for him to be removed from office in 2007. Senator Clinton urged Iraq's parliament to select a "less divisive and more unifying figure" and implied she felt al-Maliki was too concerned about Iraq's Shiite majority and not enough with national reconciliation. "During his trip to Iraq last week, Senator Levin ... confirmed that the Iraqi government is nonfunctional and cannot produce a political settlement because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders," she said.
Maliki hit back and said the Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 senators
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 were acting as if Iraq were "their property" and that they should "come to their senses" and "respect democracy."
After 17 Iraqis were shot and killed by Blackwater USA
Blackwater Baghdad shootings
On September 16, 2007, Blackwater military contractors allegedly shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad. The fatalities occurred while a Blackwater Personal Security Detail was clearing the way for a convoy of US State Department vehicles en route to a meeting in western...

 security guards al-Maliki called on the U.S. embassy to stop working with the company and said: "What happened was a crime. It has left a deep grudge and anger, both inside the government and among the Iraqi people."
Maliki's friendly gestures towards Iran have sometimes created tension between his government and the U.S. but he has also been willing to consider steps opposed by Tehran, particularly while carrying out negotiations with the U.S. on a joint-security pact. A news report said a June 2008 al-Maliki visit to Tehran "appeared aimed at getting Iran to tone down its opposition and ease criticism within Iraq." al-Maliki said an agreement reached with the U.S. won't preclude good relations with neighbors like Iran.
In August 2007, CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 reported that the firm of Barbour, Griffith & Rogers had "begun a public campaign to undermine the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki." The network described BGR as a "powerhouse Republican lobbying firm with close ties to the White House." CNN also mentioned that Ayad Allawi is both al-Maliki's rival and BGR's client, although it did not assert that Allawi had hired BGR to undermine al-Maliki.

Relationship with Saudi Arabia


King Abdullah
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

 of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 was described In a leaked March 2009 diplomatic cable:

The King said he had "no confidence whatsoever in (Iraqi PM) Maliki, and the Ambassador (Fraker) is well aware of my views." The King affirmed that he had refused former President Bush's entreaties that he meet with Maliki. The King said he had met Maliki early in Maliki's term of office, and the Iraqi had given him a written list of commitments for reconciliation in Iraq, but had failed to follow through on any of them. For this reason, the King said, Maliki had no credibility. "I don't trust this man," the King stated, "He's an Iranian agent." The King said he had told both Bush and former Vice president Cheney "how can I meet with someone I don't trust?" Maliki has "opened the door for Iranian influence in Iraq" since taking power, the King said, and he was "not hopeful at all" for Maliki, "or I would have met with him."

Official visits



On June 13, 2006, U.S. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 paid a visit to Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 to meet with al-Maliki and President of Iraq
President of Iraq
The President of Iraq is the head of state of Iraq and "safeguards the commitment to the Constitution and the preservation of Iraq's independence, sovereignty, unity, the security of its territories in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution." The President is elected by the Council of...

 Jalal Talabani
Jalal Talabani
Jalal Talabani is the sixth and current President of Iraq, a leading Kurdish politician. He is the first non-Arab president of Iraq, although Abdul Kareem Qasim was half Kurdish....

, as a token of support for the new government. On June 25, al-Maliki presented a national reconciliation plan to the Iraqi parliament. The peace plan sets out to remove powerful militias from the streets, open a dialogue with rebels, and review the status of purged members of the once-ruling Ba'ath party. Some viewed this as a bold step towards rebuilding Iraq and reaching out to Sunnis.
By July 2006, when al-Maliki visited the United States, violence had continued and even escalated, leading many to conclude that the reconciliation plan was not working or was moving too slow.
On July 26, 2006, al-Maliki addressed a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.
Several New York Democrats boycotted the speech after Al-Maliki condemned Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

's attack
2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict
The 2006 Lebanon War, also called the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War and known in Lebanon as the July War #Other uses|Tammūz]]) and in Israel as the Second Lebanon War , was a 34-day military conflict in Lebanon, northern Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. The principal parties were Hezbollah...

 on Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

. Howard Dean
Howard Dean
Howard Brush Dean III is an American politician and physician from Vermont. He served six terms as the 79th Governor of Vermont and ran unsuccessfully for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. Although his U.S...

, the DNC chairman, accused Al-Maliki of being an "anti-Semite" and said the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 shouldn't spend so much on Iraq and then hand it over to people like al-Malki.
In September 2006 Al-Maliki made his first official visit to neighbouring Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, whose alleged influence on Iraq is a matter of concern for Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 He discussed with Iranian officials, including president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the "principle of no interference in internal affairs" during his visit on September 11, 2006 and September 12, 2006, i.e., political and security issues. His visit closely followed an incident in which Iran detained Iraqi soldiers it accused of having illegally crossed the border. Ibrahim Shaker, Iraqi defence ministry spokesman, said the five soldiers, one officer and one translator involved had simply been doing "their duty." During his visit al-Malki called the Islamic Republic of Iran “a good friend and brother.”
A press conference given by al-Malki and then-U.S. President George Bush on December 14, 2008 was disrupted when Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush.

Quotations

  • "I consider myself a friend of the U.S., but I'm not America's man in Iraq."
  • "As Iraq has triumphed over terrorism, it will triumph in the international arena."
  • "We did not provide any sanctuary or opportunity for any outlaws, whether they were followers of the Mehdi Army or Muqtada al-Sadr or the Islamic Council or even of the Dawa party. This is the truth all Iraqis know and are proud of -- we deal with all outlaws equally...I would be very easy with any decision that goes through the democratic framework and will be very tough if anything is being tried outside the democratic framework."


External links



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