Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bush Admin Wants Al-Maliki Gone

Looks like Nouri al-Maliki will soon be Iraq's former prime minister:

Major partners in Iraq's governing coalition are in behind-the-scenes talks to oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki amid discontent over his failure to quell raging violence, according to lawmakers involved.

The talks are aimed at forming a new parliamentary bloc that would seek to replace the current government and that would likely exclude supporters of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who is a vehement opponent of the U.S. military presence.

The new alliance would be led by senior Shiite politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who met with President Bush last week. Al-Hakim, however, was not expected to be the next prime minister because he prefers the role of powerbroker, staying above the grinding day-to-day running of the country.

A key figure in the proposed alliance, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni Arab, left for Washington on Sunday for a meeting with Bush at least three weeks ahead of schedule.

Tony Snow, naturally, is denying that there are any plans to get rid of al-Maliki:

The White House is flatly denying a report that key Shiite leaders are maneuvering to oust Iraq's prime minister.

Press Secretary Tony Snow tells reporters there's no move afoot to "dump" Nouri al-Maliki.

An Associated Press dispatch from Baghdad quotes Iraqi lawmakers as saying Shiites are holding talks on a new alliance because al-Maliki has been unable to end sectarian bloodshed.

The alliance reportedly would be led by Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who met with President Bush last week, though someone else would likely be prime minister. The AP report quotes a senior aide to al-Maliki as saying, "We know what's going on and we will sabotage it."

Asked what's wrong in the story, Snow said, "Basically, everything."

Snow adds the president has full confidence in al-Maliki. Earlier this month, at a meeting in Jordan, Bush called al-Maliki "the right man for Iraq".

This all sounds very familiar. Back in April, Condi Rice was pushing for Ibrahim al-Jaafari to step down as prime minister in favor of al-Maliki; now it's the latter's turn to fall out of favor with the Bush administration.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

This is a test to see if Comments work.