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Iraqi journalist insults, attacks Bush

Posted by By Agency Reporter on 2008/12/14 | Views: 1413 |

Iraqi journalist insults, attacks Bush


A surprise visit by US President George Bush to Iraq has been overshadowed by an incident in which an Iraqi journalist insulted and hurled shoes at him during a news conference.

A surprise visit by US President George Bush to Iraq has been overshadowed by an incident in which an Iraqi journalist insulted and hurled shoes at him during a news conference.

The journalist was wrestled to the floor by security guards after he called Bush “a dog” and threw his footwear, just missing the president.

The soles of shoes are considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture.

During the trip, Bush and Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki signed the new security agreement between their countries.

The pact calls for US troops to leave Iraq in 2011 - eight years after the 2003 invasion that has in part defined the Bush presidency.

Speaking just over five weeks before he hands over power to Barack Obama, Bush also said the war in Iraq was not over and more work remained to be done.

His previously unannounced visit came a day after US Defence Secretary Robert Gates told US troops the Iraq mission was in its “endgame”.

In the middle of the news conference with Maliki, a reporter stood up and shouted “this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog,” before hurtling his shoes at Bush, narrowly missing him.

“All I can report is a size 10,” Bush said according to the Associated Press news agency.

The shoe thrower was taken away by security guards and the news conference continued.

Correspondents called it a symbolic incident. Iraqis threw shoes and used them to beat Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad after his overthrow.

Bush had on Sunday arrived Iraq on a surprise farewell visit to the country to meet leaders and thank American troops for their work there.

Bush arrived at Baghdad international airport on Air Force One.

He is expected to meet Iraqi leaders during his visit, thank US troops for their work in the country and celebrate a new security agreement, a White House spokesman said.

The new bilateral deal will see all US troops pulled out of the country by 2011.

Bush’s visit comes just 37 days before he hands over power to Democrat Barack Obama and a day after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited UK forces in Afghanistan.

It is his fourth visit to the war zone as president - his most recent trip there was over 15 months ago, in September last year.

High levels of security are in place for the visit and although the situation in the country has improved over recent months, it is still considered an extremely dangerous place for Mr Bush to go.

US political analyst, Jon-Christopher Bua said: “This is possibily Bush’s last attempt to restore his legacy and begin the revision of his own history regarding his decision to invade Iraq.

“His decision to invade Iraq and its unanticipated consequences will be fodder for historians and the centerpiece of his legacy for years to come.”

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