Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Iraqi VP Hashemi: Bush 'brainwashed' Blair into staying

One of two Iraqi vice-presidents, al-Hashemi visited Bush weeks ahead of schedule, and directly following reports of efforts to unseat al-Maliki and displace al-Sadr

NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair was in favor of announcing a timetable to pull troops out of Iraq, but was "brainwashed" out of it by President George W. Bush, Iraq's vice president said on Tuesday.

Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi told New York's Council on Foreign Relations that when he spoke with Blair about three months ago, the British leader was supportive of his appeal for the United States and Britain to say when they would withdraw.

"I had just convinced him," Hashemi said. "He promised he was going to discuss the subject with President Bush, but at the end of the day, it's quite unfortunate, that your president (made) some sort of brainwashing of Mr. Blair."

But Hashemi also said any withdrawal of troops should be conditional on U.S. training of Iraq's security forces.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

Related Link:
Hashemi: US must reform Iraqi forces before leaving

Related Link:
Iraq VP al-Hashemi criticizes Maliki government ahead of Bush meeting