Hillary Clinton: Kurds Were Rightly Concerned About Maliki


10.07.2014 – BasNews, Washington – Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview with CSPAN last Saturday said she thought the Kurds were rightly concerned about Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki’s policies and failure to form an inclusive government.“Well, in Iraq today, I think what we have to understand is that it is primarily a political problem that has to be addressed. The ascension of the Sunni extremists, the so-called ISIS group, is taking advantage of the breakdown in political dialogue and the total lack of trust between the Maliki government, the Sunni leaders and the Kurdish leaders,” she said.

Clinton herself had been voicing misgivings for some time. “I had been warning the administration about this, as had many others, for a long time…[W]hen President Bush made the decision with Maliki to withdraw our troops at the end of 2011 unless we reached an agreement for them to stay under certain conditions, I worked to figure out if there was such an agreement. And the State Department was an active participant in those conversations.”

The United States wanted Nouri al-Malik to be more inclusive. “But while we were constantly stressing to Maliki to become more inclusive, we told him that he can’t turn his back on the Sunni areas, he has to continue to support the men who came into the Sunni awakening that then General Petraeus helped to broker. [Following the awakening] Sunnis began actually fighting with Americans and with Shi’ite Iraqis against al-Qaida in Iraq.”

But instead Maliki did not uphold his promises. “It was our understanding that Maliki understood the importance of that and would maintain it. But unfortunately, it was impossible to reach an agreement with him, so our troops left; they could not stay because they didn’t have the protections that we required”. Clinton concluded that the Kurds had grounds to worry about Maliki. “And then [Maliki] immediately began to go after Sunni leaders. He would postpone and fail to come up with the agreement about the allocation of oil revenues, something the Kurds were rightly concerned about.”