If you read about the drama connected with PM Al-Maliki's relationship with the U.S. you may come to the conclusion that I have. While the long-term Iraqi occupation agreement was in play, Al-Maliki had his gonads in a vice. If he sided with the U.S., he would be yoking Iraq to occupation by U.S. forces for an indeterminate amount of time in unbelievably Draconian ways. If he followed the will of his country's people, the Bush administration cabal would be...highly disappointed with their man in Iraq.
There were hearings on the matter. Two Iraqi Parliamentarians came and told Congress that they were not fooled by the agreement. It would be a hostile occupation, pure and simple. They didn't support it. Their countrymen didn't support it.
That cannot be a happy position for the Prime Minister of Iraq to be in. Al-Maliki found his voice, whether by patriotism or strong suggestion from the factions that operate in Iraq, and turned down the long-term occupation deal. And the cabal is disappointed.
Then, Sen. Obama, who has proposed a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq for quite some time now, travels to the Middle East, thereby cutting the Republican screech of "What does he know? He hasn't been there." The world, enamored with the Senator, is all ears.
The golden opportunity of "the right time" has presented itself. By Al-Maliki endorsing Sen. Obama's plan for withdrawal, he's coming up roses. He has visible and popular support for not committing his country to unending occupation; managed to stick it to those that had him by his short hairs; and demurely inserted Iraqi opinion in the U.S. election cycle, not to mention robbing John McCain of his 100 years of occupation if necessary talking point. And frankly, many others but I'd have to read more about that.
Were I Al-Maliki, I'd be breathing a sigh of relief.