Chimpy seems to be running out of patience waiting for Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki toproduce a few miracles.
[D]iplomats who deal with the Bush administration on Iraq issues, and recently departed officials who stay in contact with their colleagues in the government, say the president’s top advisers have a far more pessimistic view.
“The thing you hear the most is that [Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki] never makes any decisions,” said a former senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations. “And that drives Bush crazy. He doesn’t take well to anyone who talks about getting something accomplished and then refuses to take the first step.”
While some officials in Washington say Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice still insist in staff meetings that Mr. Maliki must be given more time and support, there is a growing sense that he is not about to change his operating style. A former senior official said the big test would be whether Mr. Maliki could confront [Moktada al-Sadr]. “If you don’t do that, I don’t know how he can succeed,” the official said.
Mr. Maliki has little obvious leverage over Mr. Sadr, who controls at least 30 seats in Parliament and six ministries, making him one of the most powerful figures in the government. Mr. Sadr has no intention of disbanding the Mahdi Army, because it is now part of the government, said Bahaa al-Aaraji, a senior legislator allied with him.
“They are just volunteers defending their country,” Mr. Aaraji said.