Bush's long-awaited summit with Iraq PM al-Maliki has been postponed 24 hours, following a leaked memo from the White House which seems to have been carefully timed to undermine al-Maliki's negotiating position.
"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," the memo said.Here's a BUSH OUT EXCLUSIVE! A leaked memo from al-Maliki's office:
"The reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Bush 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," the memo said.Heh.
Today's NYT editorial captures al-Maliki's Catch 22 situation:
Mr. Bush needs to make clear that Americans’ patience has all but run out and that he will start bringing the troops home unless Mr. Maliki moves to rein in sectarian bloodletting and Iraqi troops start shouldering more of the burden. Mr. Maliki needs to make Mr. Bush understand Iraq’s full desperation — and his own desperate political weakness. So long as Baghdad remains in chaos — and militias are better armed and more motivated than the Iraqi Army — he has no chance of ending the blood feuds or breaking the cycle of retribution.The US wants al-Maliki to use his political influence to stop the violence or they will (they say) withdraw US military support. But al-Maliki can't stop the violence because he lacks political influence without US military support.
What to do? The NYT says it's time to start negotiating with terrorists!
Mr. Bush needs to start by giving the Iraqi leader a clear deadline for beginning national reconciliation talks, preferably as soon as Mr. Maliki returns to Baghdad.Well, who would have ever imagined that it would come to this? Not just talking to Iran and Syria, but all the other bad guys as well! Next thing they will be going back and having a good look at what really pissed Bin Laden off!
To their credit, the NYT also mentions the big O word:
And he should insist that the talks continue until some agreement is reached on protecting minority rights, equitably dividing the country’s oil wealth, and demobilizing sectarian militias.More of that please. But less of this:
Mr. Maliki needs to give his own deadline to the Americans for launching a truly make-or-break campaign to retake the streets of Baghdad.We have already done that, folks. The streets of Baghdad, Falluja, Ramadi and other towns have been taken and re-taken and taken again. "Make or Break"? Give me a break! It's BROKEN!!!