By CNN’s Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) – The Arab League took a major decision in recent days to suspend Syria from membership because of the regime's brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters. More than 3,000 people have been killed, according the United Nations and other human rights groups.
Eighteen countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, voted in favor of the measure. Two countries voted against: Lebanon and Yemen. One country – Iraq – abstained.
I was not surprised that Nuri al-Maliki's government in Baghdad abstained. But I was again deeply disappointed.
Despite the enormous sacrifice of U.S. blood and treasure in liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, the Shiite-led government in Baghdad didn't have the guts to stand with the overwhelming majority in the Arab world and side against the Damascus regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The Iraqi government is still apparently more concerned about overly upsetting its friends in Iran, which has strongly sided with the Syrian government.
So what does that say about al-Maliki and his team?
It says that they care more about their image in Iran than they do in the United States. And I suspect that will only increase at the end of this year, when all U.S. troops are out of the country.
The Iraqi government refused repeated U.S. requests to continue immunity for any U.S. troops who would have remained in the country. The Obama administration had wanted a few thousand trainers to remain in Iraq next year and beyond.
But the Iranians strongly opposed any continued U.S. military presence, so no U.S. troops will be there.
I am sure much of this U.S. disappointment will be papered over when al-Maliki visits Washington next month. But it shouldn't.
I hope I'm wrong, but I am deeply worried about which direction the Iraqi government is moving. Will that enormous U.S. sacrifice prove to have been for nothing?
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