Beginning the Blackwater backpedal
prediction: Maliki caves, Blackwater stays and yet more hell breaks loose.
Well, it looks like Prime Minister al-Maliki is beginning the predicted, initial retreat from the his and other Iraqi officials' initial stance on the presence of Blackwater in Iraq. When asked about the Blackwater incident at a meeting with the Council on Foreign Relations, Maliki bobbed, weaved and elicited nothing but equivocation.
Maliki, who will speak to the U.N. General Assembly tomorrow, deftly dodged questions about last week's incident in which employees of Blackwater, a private U.S. security firm, allegedly killed 11 Iraqi civilians. While "initial signs" are that "there was some wrongdoing from Blackwater," he said, he will await the results of a U.S.-Iraqi investigation. He dismissed a statement by the interior minister in Baghdad that Blackwater will be banned from Iraq, saying the positions of the ministry and his office are "the same."He also said that Iranian intervention in Iraq had "ceased to exist" and civil war had been averted. Which one can only take to mean that the program of ethnic cleansing has been somewhat completed.