The Iraqi government has sent out a statement to push back against Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s interview in Der Spiegel, in which he seemed to endorse Sen. Barack Obama’s 16-month U.S. troop withdrawal plan — accidentally blast-e-mailed out by the White House to reporters yesterday.
The Sunday statement that was blast-e-mailed to its press list by Multi-National Force-Iraq — which the New York Times says was also sent out by CENTCOM — reads as follows.
"Al-Dabbagh: Mr. Maliki’s statements to the German magazine Der Spiegel have been misunderstood
"The official spokesman for the Iraqi government, Dr. Ali al-Dabbagh, announced that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki confirmed that his statements to the German magazine Der Spiegel have been misunderstood and mistranslated and was not conveyed accurately regarding the vision of Senator Barack Obama, U.S. presidential candidate, on the timeframe for U.S. forces withdrawal from Iraq.
"Al-Dabbagh explained that Mr. al-Maliki confirmed the existence of an Iraqi vision stems from the reality with regard to Iraq security needs, as the positive developments of the security situation and the improvement witnessed in Iraqi cities makes the subject of U.S. forces’ withdrawal within prospects, horizons and timetables agreed upon and in the light of the continuing positive developments on the ground, and security that came within the Strategic Plan for Cooperation which was laid and developed by Mr. Maliki and President George Bush. The Iraqi government appreciates and values the efforts of all the friends who continue to support and supporting Iraqi security forces.
"Al-Dabbagh underscored that the statements made by the head of the ministerial council (Prime Minister al-Maliki) or any of the members of the Iraqi government should not be understood as support to any U.S. presidential candidates "
Neither the Iraqi government nor MNF-I nor CENTCOM explained exactly what had been mistranslated or misunderstood.
UPDATE: I’m told that Arabic for "spin" is "faraa." I’m also told that Der Spiegel bleibt bei seiner Version (Der Spiegel is standing by its story).