US President George W Bush had a pair of shoes hurled at him during his farewell visit to Baghdad. Just weeks before he bequeaths the unpopular Iraq war to President-elect Barack Obama, Bush declared that while great strides have been taken toward peace, “the war is not over”. In a sign of lingering anger over the war that will define the Republican president’s foreign policy legacy, an Iraqi journalist shouted “this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog,” and hurled his shoes at Bush during a news conference with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Throwing shoes at somebody is a supreme insult in the Middle East. One of the shoes sailed over the president’s head and slammed into the wall behind him and he had to duck to miss the other one. Maliki tried to block the second shoe with his arm. “It’s like going to a political rally and have people yell at you. It’s a way for people to draw attention,” Bush said. “I don’t know what the guy’s cause was. I didn’t feel the least bit threatened by it.” The journalist was leapt on by Iraqi security officials and US secret service agents and dragged from the room screaming and struggling. Bush’s fleeting visit to Baghdad was aimed at marking the recent passage of a U.S.-Iraq security pact that paves the way for U.S. troops to pull out of Iraqi cities by July next year and withdraw completely by the end of 2011.

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