A few days ago a senior reporter from the New York Post named Amir Taheri reported that Obama, in his trip to Iraq in July, had asked the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari to delay the finalizing of an agreement that would result in the withdrawing of U.S. troops. It amounts to interfering with the foreign policy of the U.S., which is something a senator is not allowed to do.
Obama's people denied it, but in a second report Amir Taheri strongly stood by his first report and gave the following details:
My account of Obama's message to the Iraqis was based on a series of conversations with Iraqi officials, as well as reports and analyses in the Iraqi media (including the official newspaper, Al Sabah) on the senator's trip to Baghdad. It is also confirmed by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
In a long interview with the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, Zebari says: "Obama asked me why, in view of the closeness of a change of administration, we were hurrying the signing of this special agreement, and why we did not wait until the coming of the new administation next year and agree on some issues and matters."
Zebari continues: "I told Obama that, as an Iraqi, I believe that even if there is a Democratic administration in the White House it had better continue the present policy instead of wasting a lot of time thinking what to do."
In other words, Obama was trying to derail current US policy, while Zebari was urging him not to "waste time."
Zebari then says: "I pointed out to him [Obama] that the agreement being negotiated [with the US] was not to be necessarily binding on the future administration unless it wanted to cooperate with the people of Iraq instead of causing] crises and problems from its very start."
According to Zebari, Obama said "some media reports that I want all [American] forces withdrawn are wrong. I want to keep American forces [in Iraq] to train [the Iraqi army] and fight terrorism." This is precisely what US troops have been doing in Iraq for the last five years.
Zebari then says that he had the impression that US policy in Iraq wouldn't change: "The US has permanent strategic interests in our region. A change in the inistration would not change realities and priorities and would not mean a change of policy as a whole." (Full text of the Zebari interview is available on Asharqalawsat.com)
Another upshot of this revelation is that Obama's supporters have been threatening the reporter with "death and worse". Many have criticized Obama supporters' thuggery behavior, and this is just another proof of it. This is how Amir Taheri put it at the end of his reprot"
While I am encouraged by the senator's evolution, I must also appeal to him to issue a "cease and desist" plea to the battalions of his sympathizers - who have been threatening me with death and worse in the days since my article appeared.