Friday, July 27, 2007

Not a great alibi

Among the eyebrow raising anecdotes in this New York Times story about the US has publicly deemphasized its rift with Saudi Arabia over policy towards Iraq --

WASHINGTON, July 26 — During a high-level meeting in Riyadh in January, Saudi officials confronted a top American envoy with documents that seemed to suggest that Iraq’s prime minister could not be trusted.

One purported to be an early alert from the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr warning him to lie low during the coming American troop increase, which was aimed in part at Mr. Sadr’s militia. Another document purported to offer proof that Mr. Maliki was an agent of Iran.

The American envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, immediately protested to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, contending that the documents were forged ... The American officials said they had no doubt that the documents shown to Mr. Khalilzad were forgeries, though the Saudis said they had obtained them from sources in Iraq. “Maliki wouldn’t be stupid enough to put that on a piece of paper,” one senior Bush administration official said. He said Mr. Maliki later assured American officials that the documents were forgeries.

This from the same Administration which believed that Saddam would leave a paper trail on that famous attempted purchase of uranium from Niger. Note also how the US resolution of the alleged forgeries entirely hinges on taking Maliki's word for it. They probably find the alternative too horrible to contemplate.

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