Saturday, November 25, 2006

Situation In Iraq Deteriorating Rapidly

The White House ... said President Bush has no intention of backing out of talks next week with the Iraqi leader, despite threats yesterday from a powerful Shiite militia to pull out of the government if Maliki goes ahead with the meeting. The talks, set for Thursday in Amman, Jordan, have suddenly taken on the air of a crisis summit, as Iraq slides closer to all-out civil war. ...

"This summit is an act of desperation. The White House doesn't know what it can do," said David Rothkopf, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace fellow and the author of "Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power." "The situation is deteriorating more rapidly than anyone anticipated and to an unending depth.

"I don't think, in modern American history, there is another example of such egregious failure of policy and execution. We're really seeing something unprecedented here. Even Vietnam was a slower decline, and the military forces were more in balance. . . . I don't know anyone who thinks there is an outcome in Iraq now that is hopeful."

The crisis atmosphere deepened in Iraq yesterday when followers of radical Shiite militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr pledged to walk out of parliament and Maliki's cabinet if the prime minister attends the Jordan summit. Sadr's powerful political bloc has 30 members in Iraq's new parliament. It was also pivotal in backing Maliki as prime minister during heated months-long debate over the new government.

The Bush administration has been increasingly frustrated by Maliki's leadership, particularly his inability or unwillingness to rein in fellow Shiites, including militias such as Sadr's. But the White House has limited alternatives because the Iraqi leader was democratically selected and the next election is not due until 2009. Maliki is, for now, the only political game in town.

And any U.S. exit strategy will rely on accelerating the transfer of security responsibilities to Iraqi forces under Maliki's control.


Post a Comment

<< Home