Emboldened Iraq Stands Up to Washington

Maliki's demand for US withdrawal the latest sign of new confidence
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2008 7:41 AM CDT
A U.S. Army helicopter flies over central Baghdad, Iraq on Friday, June 13, 2008. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says talks with the United States on a longterm security agreement have reached a...   (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Nouri al-Maliki and the Iraqi government are now openly demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces, reports the New York Times. While nobody expects Baghdad to boot American troops, several military victories and greater political stability have emboldened Maliki, and the increasingly loud demands reflect a new confidence on the part of the Iraqi PM.

Baghdad has become a more steely negotiator, recently rejecting Washington's demand that American contractors in Iraq, such as Blackwater, be offered blanket immunity from prosecution. A White House spokesman called recent debates "signs of encouraging developments in Iraq," but the irony is not lost on the Bush administration: while the "surge" might have helped stabilize Iraq, it has also strengthened a government it can no longer boss around.