Iraqi Allies Give Bush Cold Shoulder

Top Iraqi Kurd Refuses to Meet Rice
Agence France Presse

The president of Iraq's Kurdish region is refusing to meet US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was in Iraq Tuesday, because of the US position over Turkey sending soldiers into northern Iraq, a top Kurdish official said.

President Massud Barzani, who had been due to fly to Baghdad to meet Rice, will not do so in protest, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said.

"It was decided that Massud Barzani would go to Baghdad to take part in a meeting with Condoleezza Rice and other officials, but he will not go now as a sign of protest against the American position on the bombings by Turkey."

"It is unacceptable that the United States, in charge of monitoring our airspace, authorised Turkey to bomb our villages," he told reporters.

On Sunday, Ankara's most senior general, Yasar Buyukanit, said Turkey had received tacit US consent for the operation after Washington provided intelligence and opened up northern Iraqi airspace.

Guess Who Didn't Come to Annapolis?
By Jonathan Karl
ABC Reporter's Notebook

Iraq was the major no-show at the Israeli-Palestinian peace conference in Annapolis, Md., last month. The untold story about Iraq's absence raises troubling questions about just what kind of ally Iraq will prove to be and what role it will play in the region.

Asked at the conference about Iraq's absence, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, "We invited them. We thought that they could have made a positive contribution. They chose not to come."

In fact, the Bush administration did more than just invite Iraq to Annapolis. Senior officials lobbied hard, making the case that Iraq needed to be there to show the world that a maturing Iraqi government is ready to be a regional player. President Bush personally asked Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to send a representative -- a fact the White House does not like to advertise.

The Iraqis didn't turn down the invitation, they simply failed to respond to it.

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