PressTV's Middle East Today takes a fresh look at one of the region's most perplexing areas of conflict.
We are back in Iraq this week where the US coalition suffered another setback with the announced withdrawal of Australian forces.
There were also widespread protests against the signing of any form of Status of Forces Agreement between Baghdad and Washington, with critics describing the pact as essentially reducing Iraq to the level of a vassal state.
Washington, has been accused of trying to bribe Iraqi politicians to give their support for the pact, politicians that many Iraqis say either hide behind the fences of the Green Zone, or do not even have the courage to reside in the country.
While a number of Iraqi politicians and other prominent figures have come out strongly against the SOFA deal, the general public is wary of a legislature that many believe has been tainted by corruption and perhaps is not acting in Iraq’s best interests.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has announced he will be making his second visit to Tehran at the end of the week.
Iraq’s Tehran ambassador said Maliki will be here to explain the details of the proposed SOFA agreement. He also refuted media reports that Iraqi senior cleric Ayatollah Sistani is opposed to the SOFA agreement.
Earlier reports last week said Sistani would not accept the agreement while he was still living. The ambassador denied such statements were made.
Added to the mix of events this week is the release of Scott McClellan’s “What Happened” – an insider’s account of how the media and the public were manipulated by the Bush administration to accept its wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. According to some, the book contains enough information to launch a major investigation and possible impeachment of Bush and Vice President Cheney.
As Bush sees the end of his presidency fast approaching, he must be seriously considering his legacy. Under such pressure, is it possible he is losing focus? Has President Bush finally lost the plot on his seven years of what many have described as the most disastrous American foreign policy missteps in the country’s history?
On the panel to discuss the latest developments were:
From London, Jaafar el-Ahmar – Iraq expert for Al-Hayat
From Washington, Mohammad Oweis, Political analyst (profile)
In New York, Anthony Arnove, the author of ‘Iraq Under Siege’
And David Katz, a Homeland Security expert who joined us by phone.
Watch the sometimes heated debate - Iraq - Has Bush Lost The Plot? and hear what the experts have to say.
Also see Bush's Eroding Credibility first broadcast on May 22nd.
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