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The Hand Of Chalabi?

That's what the New York Sun's Eli Lake says is behind Maliki's support for Obama's withdrawal timetable:

The matter was taken up at a meeting of Iraq's National Security Council on Thursday on the recommendation of Mr. Maliki, who had been advised by the Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi to express public support for the Obama withdrawal plan. Asked for a comment yesterday, Mr. Chalabi, an old hand at working the American political process to the advantage of Iraq, conveyed a statement via his Washington representative, Francis Brooke: "This is an honor I will not claim and a rumor I will not deny."

In the same article, Lake has surge architect Fred Kagan implying that Maliki is succumbing to Iranian pressure. There's no denying that liberals who once derided Maliki as a Bush administration stooge are now touting him as the authentic and sovereign voice of the Iraqi people; but conservatives are doing their own flip-flop as well.

--Jason Zengerle