MALIKI’S CLOUT….Juan Cole does some translation from Arabic to bring us the latest news from Iraq:

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Seniora will visit Baghdad this week, seeking petroleum at reduced prices for his country from Iraq. This visit follows on that of King Abdullah II of Jordan, which involved a similar request. The rise in oil prices (which are still high compared to only a couple of years ago) has given Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki sudden clout in the region.

Well, look, can I just say that if Maliki agrees to this, it’s pretty much the same thing as simply giving Lebanon and Jordan a few billion dollars in direct foreign aid? And if Iraq is rich enough to do that, then they certainly don’t need any more of our money, do they?

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