Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Iraq Monday to plead for a national unity government. On Wednesday, we had our answer: no dice. As The Hill reports:
“The call to form a national emergency government is a coup against the constitution and the political process,” al-Maliki said in a televised address, according to Agence France-Presse.“The dangerous goals of forming a national emergency government are not hidden,” he added. “It is an attempt by those who are against the constitution to eliminate the young democratic process and steal the votes of the voters.”
Translation: “No, I will not step down, and no, I will not include more Sunnis.” Mr. Maliki evidently feels that his options, which include turning to Iran, are good enough for him to reject American help that he had just begged for.Likewise, Kerry’s stopover Egypt on Sunday was also followed by a brush-off. The Secretary had asked the Egypt to stop abusing human rights, while he pledged to deliver financial aid and Apache helicopters that the Egyptian military had asked for. On Monday, an Egyptian court sentenced three foreign journalists to prison in a high-profile case, and the President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, declined to intervene, saying only, “We will not interfere in judicial rulings.”These are not freak occurrences: rather, they are the fruits of a very deliberate Administration policy. The U.S. was to take a step back, rest awhile, and let regional powers such as Saudi Arabia take the helm. Now that the Middle East is in turmoil, and countries look to Ankara, Riyadh, and even Tehran for guidance while brushing aside Washington’s demands, we act surprised. Why should we be?