Contrast the commerce and optimism of Dubai with the stalemate that is Iraq. President George Bush met at the White House with Gen David Petraeus and other military leaders. The brass told their Commander in Chief of their "serious concern about security and the political situation," ABC's Martha Raddatz (no link) reported. The progress that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has made is "not a lot." Congressional Democrats agreed to make April 2008 their target for the withdrawal of all US combat forces from Iraq, a date that the President again promised to veto. NBC's in-house political analyst Chuck Todd told Kelly O'Donnell that the Democrats do not seem to have the votes either "to support cutting off funds" or to "keep this fight going." O'Donnell assumed that the funding will get passed "after another round of negotiations."
In Baghdad itself NBC's Stephanie Gosk followed up on the plan for the so-called "gated communities" that ABC's Hilary Brown (subscription required) told us about last Friday. Chanting the slogans No to Isolation! No to America! residents of Adhamiyah took to the streets to protest the 12-foot-high concrete wall built by the US military around their neighborhood. "Checkpoints and identity cards would also be used to restrict movements of most in and out," Gosk added. Then Gosk offered this confusing soundbite from Ryan Crocker, the US Ambassador to Baghdad: "The intention…is clearly not to segregate communities." Prime Minister al-Maliki ordered construction stopped in this neighborhood, but the walls may go ahead in four others.
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