Reporter Lectures Maliki for Criticizing Hillary, Buries Good News from Iraq

Baghdad-based James Glanz buried some good news out of Iraq on Monday in favor of lecturing Iraq's prime minister Maliki for criticizing Democratic senators Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin.

The headline encapsulated the thrust of Glanz's piece: "Iraqi Prime Minister Says 2 U.S. Senators Need to 'Start Making Sense Again.'"

"Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki on Sunday extended his tongue-lashing of foreign politicians who have questioned his government, saying that Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Carl Levin needed to 'start making sense again' after the senators, both Democrats, called for his ouster.

"Mr. Maliki, who previously reacted with anger to President Bush's criticism of the Iraqi government's lack of political progress, also lashed out at the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, who called for Mr. Maliki to be replaced in an interview that appeared on the Newsweek Web site on Sunday.

"But Mr. Maliki appeared to reach a new level of stridency with his reply to Senator Clinton, of New York, and Senator Levin, of Michigan. In remarks in a news briefing that referred to the senators by name, Mr. Maliki said they had spoken 'as if Iraq is one of their cities.'

"'Iraq is a sovereign country, and we will not allow anyone to talk about it as if it belongs to this country or that,' Mr. Maliki said. He added a phrase that could be translated as indicating that the senators ought to make sense again or should return to a logical path.

"Later in the day, Mr. Maliki appeared to have calmed down as he went through a series of meetings and participated in a joint statement of broad political unity by two major Kurdish parties, two Shiite parties, including his Dawa Party, and a bloc led by Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni."

Besides the condescending language, notice that Glanz reduced to a pesky side detail a pretty significant development - an Iraqi unity accord. Maliki had reached agreement with Iraqi Sunnis and Kurds on freeing prisoners and allowing ex-Baathists back into the government. You wouldn't learn that from the Times' story, however.

By contrast, the Washington Post devoted a full story to the news (hat tip Captain's Quarters).