Monday, December 15, 2008

Bush comes under Iraqi "shoe attack"

An Iraqi reporter called U.S. President George W. Bush a 'dog' in Arabic and threw his shoes at him during a news conference in Baghdad.

In Baghdad, Bush told Iraqi President Jalal Talabani that the war, which began when U.S.-led troops invaded the country in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein, was not yet over.
"The work hasn't been easy but it's been necessary for American security, Iraqi hope and world peace," he said.

Talabani called Bush "a great friend for the Iraqi people, who helped us liberate our country".
Bush later signed a security pact with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki under which U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of 2011. They are to withdraw initially from Iraqi cities by June 2009.

However, Bush's brief visit to Iraq was not all smiles. During a press conference with Maliki, a correspondent for the Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV hurled his shoes at the U.S. president, shouting in Arabic, "this is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, dog" and "this is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq."

He was then overpowered by security personnel and taken away.
Bush, who dodged both shoes, said "I don't know what the guy's cause is." He later commented that, "If you want the facts, it's a size 10 shoe that he threw"

Showing the soles of shoes is considered an insult in Arabic culture. In 2004, Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi pointed the sole of his shoes towards then-British prime minster Tony Blair during talks in Libya. The gesture was interpreted in the Arab world as "the worst of all insults."