Monday, January 15, 2007

Shiite leaders unhappy with surge / Maliki gone if doesn't deliver?

"The Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has not publicly opposed the American troop increase, but aides to Mr. Maliki have been saying for weeks that the government is wary of the proposal. They fear that an increased American troop presence, particularly in Baghdad, will be accompanied by a more assertive American role that will conflict with the Shiite government’s haste to cut back on American authority and run the war the way it wants.
. . . It is an opinion that is broadly held among a Shiite political elite that is increasingly impatient, after nearly two years heading the government here, to exercise power without the constraining supervision of the United States. As a long-oppressed majority, the Shiites have a deep-seated fear that the power they won at the polls, after centuries of subjugation by the Sunni minority, will be progressively whittled away as the Americans seek deals with the Sunnis that will help bring American troops home.
These misgivings are broadly shared by Shiite leaders in the government, including some whom Mr. Bush has courted recently." [1]

"Testifying on Capitol Hill about the plan for the second straight day, Mr. Gates said that Iraqi lawmakers might decide to replace Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, if he failed to take steps to carry out the new plan to regain control of Baghdad.
'The first consequence that he has to face is the possibility that he’ll lose his job,' Mr. Gates said. 'There are beginning to be some people around that may say, ‘I can do better than he’s doing,’ in terms of making progress.'
Administration officials have discussed among themselves whether they might need to withdraw support for Mr. Maliki if he doesn’t perform, notably by building a new coalition in the Iraqi Parliament.
. . . Mr. Gates conceded that the Iraqi government’s record of fulfilling its commitments is “not an encouraging one,” but said Mr. Maliki now seemed to him 'eager' to follow the plan worked out with American commanders." [2]

[1] The New York Times. Promising Troops Where They Aren’t Really Wanted. January 11, 2007.
[2] The New York Times. Republicans on Panel Back President’s Plan, Masking Divisions. January 13, 2007.

posted: monday, january 15, 2007, 3:20 PM ET
update: monday, january 15, 2007, 3:25 PM ET


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