October 16, 2006


Thousands of Iraqis are fleeing the country every day, in what the UN's refugee agency describes as a steady, silent exodus.

The number of Iraqis claiming asylum in the West is growing, says the UNHCR.

The agency also says the number of internally displaced is growing, with some 365,000 Iraqis uprooted this year.

Earlier this week the Baghdad government estimated that about 300,000 people had been internally displaced since February. Read on...

Meanwhile, Prime Minister al-Maliki urges the US to leave as soon as possible in an interview with USA Today:

Q: To what extent is Iran interfering in Iraq's internal politics and security?

A: I can tell you that regional interferences do exist. The way to prevent this interference is to prevent its causes. Part of the Arabic and Iranian interference comes from the U.S.-Iranian struggle and the struggle between the U.S. and some Arab countries. And Iraqis are paying the price for this.

We have told both Iran and America to leave Iraq out of their mutual conflicts. Now we need a similar agreement with Syria. Syria is interfering in Iraq because it is trying to turn the American effort here into a failure. They see American efforts here as a threat to their interests.

Q: How long should the United States maintain the current level of troops in Iraq?

A: This is related to the success of the Iraqi security forces and their ability to control the situation. I think it's in America's interest, so they can start leaving sooner rather than later, to hand over responsibility to Iraqi security forces. And put a lot of emphasis on and increase the speed of building our security forces.

Clearly, Maliki didn't get the memo from the White House, because he's deviating from the talking points. Therefore, it comes as little surprise to see this headline: Lack of confidence in Maliki government grows

Or Bush's 15 minute phone call to assure them once again that the US is not putting a timetable on Iraq.

Keep in mind, October is on pace to be the deadliest month ever in Iraq.

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