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The Iraqi Leadership Death Watch

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Jim Hoagland repeats the now oft-quoted view that the Bush administration intends, sooner rather than later, to remove Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki through a coup d’état (shades of Ngo Dinh Diem, the Vietnamese president who was assassinated in a CIA-planned coup in 1963, launching the Vietnam War in earnest). But other concerns for the life of leaders in Iraq are still more immediate, giving rise to a multipoint deathwatch.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has been so ill that he has declined meetings with foreign visitors for more than a month now. Today Laura Rozen reports that he is “at the Mayo clinic for medical treatment.”

Iraqi Vice President Abdul Aziz Hakim has been diagnosed with cancer by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He has opted to undergo chemotherapy not in Texas, but in Tehran, saying he wished to be closer to his family in Baghdad. The Washington Times reports that he has now arrived in Tehran. No doubt others will see his selection of medical treatment in Tehran over the United States in other terms.

Clearly, this is not a good time to be a high government official in Iraq. You don’t suppose this is all some sort of divine metaphor for the state of the Iraqi body politic, do you?

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