Nov 29, 2006

Vote Of Confidence

A classified memorandum by President Bush's national security adviser expressed serious doubts about whether Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had the capacity to control the sectarian violence in Iraq and recommended that the United States take new steps to strengthen the Iraqi leader's position. ...

"His intentions seem good when he talks with Americans, and sensitive reporting suggests he is trying to stand up to the Shia hierarchy and force positive change," the memo said of the Iraqi leader. "But the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action." ...

Two senior administration officials, who insisted on anonymity in exchange for talking about a classified memo, said it was unclear whether Mr. Maliki has seen the memo, but suggested its contents would be no surprise to the Iraqi prime minister, who has been in regular consultation with Mr. Bush.

One official said a "key aspect" of the upcoming meetings in Jordan would be for the two leaders to determine "where we can accelerate and expand Prime Minister Maliki's capacity" to deal with the issues outlined in the memo. "That will be a dominant subject," the official said.

Even so, the memo will undoubtedly color the meeting between the two leaders when they see one another in Jordan Wednesday night. Despite the memo's suggestion that the prime minister may be ignorant of what is going on, or misrepresenting his intentions, the officials insisted the president has concluded Mr. Maliki's intentions are good. "The judgment is that it's a capability issue," one official said.

No comments: