The Politics of Timetables

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The buzz over the weekend was about a Der Spiegel interview with Nouri Maliki in which the Iraqi PM essentially embraced the 16-month timeline for withdrawal articulated by Barack Obama. While Iraqi government spokesmen have since backpedaled on the remarks, there’s little room for doubt when you actually read them. It’s a testament to how opaque and unpredictable the political context of the Iraq War now is that President Bush, Maliki and Obama are all converging on the need for some sort of “timeframe” for withdrawal, even if everyone is hedging their bets by using murky language or tying it […]

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