[Maliki spokesman Yassin] Majid confirmed to FOX News that Muntadhar al-Zeidi has asked the Iraqi president [sic] for a pardon, and expressed “regret and sorrow” for his behavior.
“It is too late to now to regret the big and ugly act that I perpetrated,” al-Zeidi wrote, according to Majid…
Majid told FOX News that al-Maliki, who tried to shelter Bush from the incoming shoes with his arm, is inclined to let Iraqi law run its course.
I.e. he’s hoping a judge will let the guy off with a wrist slap so that he doesn’t have to get involved. What happens if Zeidi’s convicted and ends up with, say, a two-year sentence, though? He’s a Shiite and a Sadrist sympathizer, so refusing to pardon him won’t have the sectarian toxicity that it would if he were a Sunni. There’s also less risk now of Maliki being seen as a puppet by siding with Bush thanks to the agreement on withdrawal by 2011. Even so, he’s not going to let the Arabs’ newest folk hero rot in prison with elections next year, especially if the rumors of Iraqi security having beaten the hell out of him in jail are true. Prediction: Sentence commuted to time served, with a conciliatory statement aimed at Sunnis issued asserting that it’s time to forgive Iraqis who may, in their suffering, have occasionally acted “rashly.” (Or is it?)