Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Iraq War: Iraq Prime Minister is a Failed Leader

USA Today reports that Prime Minsiter Al-Maliki support eroding in Iraq

BAGHDAD — A broad range of prominent Iraqi lawmakers say they have lost confidence in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ability to reconcile the country's warring factions. A leading Kurdish lawmaker said al-Maliki should resign.

Legislators from several parties told USA TODAY that al-Maliki lacks the support in parliament to push through laws, such as a plan to distribute oil revenues, that could reduce tensions between Sunnis and Shiites. Iraq's parliament has failed to pass major legislation since a U.S.-led security plan began on Feb. 14.

"He is a weak prime minister," said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish legislator who supported al-Maliki until recently. "This government hasn't delivered and is not capable of doing the job. They should resign." (Editors note:The Kurds want their independence and that will not be a consideration under al-Maliki)

The loss of support came as Democrats agreed Monday on legislation that would force U.S. troops to begin leaving Iraq by Oct. 1. President Bush, who said he would veto the bill, has argued that Iraq's government needs more time to calm sectarian violence. (Editors note: All must consider the possibility that there will not be a decrease in violence in the foreseeable future - no matter what the political landscape turns into. The hostility is now larger than politics. Suicide bombing speaks of a type of barbaric desperation that cannot be appeased by anything but time.)

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in Baghdad last week that the U.S. military commitment is not "open ended" and will be re-evaluated in late summer based in part on whether parliament has made progress. Al-Maliki seems unable to broker deals among the fractious alliance of Kurds and Shiites who supported his appointment last May, said Qasim Dawood, a member of al-Maliki's coalition.

"The present government is not competent," said Dawood, a Shiite legislator. "It's more or less paralyzed, inactive. I doubt very much that this government can continue in power much longer."

A political adviser to al-Maliki, whose term ends in 2010, said that the prime minister has no power to pass laws by himself. "We can only ask, push, the (parliament) to approve," Sadiq al-Rikabi said.

Al-Rikabi said there is no viable alternative to al-Maliki as prime minister. "Suppose he resigns," al-Rikabi said. "Then what is the solution?"

The (greatlly troubled) Bush administration "has confidence in Prime Minister Maliki," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council. (Editors note: Bush also has confidence in troubled Attorney General Gonzales, and has had confidence in a series of politico's who have proven themselves corrupt and incompetent.)

Pending constitutional amendments on issues such as tax revenue sharing have stalled, said Ayad al-Samarrai, deputy chairman of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni group. He said al-Maliki's poor reputation among Sunnis was partly to blame. "We don't see any progress" on sectarian reconciliation, al-Samarrai said.

Six Cabinet ministers loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, the anti-American Shiite cleric whose support was crucial in naming al-Maliki as prime minister, resigned this month. (Editors note: al-Maliki in the past has unfairly protected al Sadr and his militia from the coolition forces, so his departure is a significant sign of al Malaki's power even among his own people.)

"(Al-Maliki) must do something to make this government stronger," said Bahaa al-Araji, a lawmaker loyal to al-Sadr. "If not, this government will expire within a few weeks."

Contributing: David Jackson in Washington, Brian Winter in McLean, Va.

It is the position of this editor that al-Maliki is part of the problem and will not be instrumental in the solution. He has in the past claimed he does not want to be Prime Minister. He has thrown an undiplomatic fit and has refused to speak with the British after they raided a criminally run police station. He has courted Iranian friendship even though the US is politically opposed to such a friendship. He hints on one hand that he wants the US out, while on the other hand he is pocketing the money the US feeds into his coffers for his cooperation with Bush's oil initiatives in Iraq. Bush is not and has not been a good leader and he has shown a continual failure to pick good leaders. The sooner we remove al Maliki from power, the sooner a new leader can pull Iraq together and forward.

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