Lawmakers and cabinet ministers loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have suspended participation in parliament and the government to protest Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s summit with U.S. President George W. Bush.
A statement issued Wednesday by the 30 lawmakers and five Cabinet ministers said their action was necessary because the meeting constituted a “provocation to the feelings of the Iraqi people and a violation of their constitutional rights.” The statement did not explain that claim.
Al-Maliki and Bush are meeting in Amman, the Jordanian capital, Wednesday and Thursday looking for ways to end the violence in Iraq.
This is going to definitely add to the tensions in the country. Ironically on the same day as this so called “summit”, we find out that the Bush White House has been trashing al-Maliki:
A classified memorandum by President Bush’s national security adviser expressed serious doubts about whether Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had the capacity to control the sectarian violence in Iraq and recommended that the United States take new steps to strengthen the Iraqi leader’s position.
The Nov. 8 memo was prepared for Mr. Bush and his top deputies by Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and senior aides on the staff of the National Security Council after a trip by Mr. Hadley to Baghdad.
The memo suggests that if Mr. Maliki fails to carry out a series of specified steps, it may ultimately be necessary to press him to reconfigure his parliamentary bloc, a step the United States could support by providing “monetary support to moderate groups,” and by sending thousands of additional American troops to Baghdad to make up for what the document suggests is a current shortage of Iraqi forces. (Text of the Memo)
The memo presents an unvarnished portrait of Mr. Maliki and notes that he relies for some of his political support on leaders of more extreme Shiite groups. The five-page document, classified secret, is based in part on a one-on-one meeting between Mr. Hadley and Mr. Maliki on Oct. 30.
This is an absolute nightmare with no easy solution. Bush has let this problem compound and even added to it when they pushed so hard to Maliki to become the prime minister. We definitely need a person running this country with a proven track record on the diplomatic front, and even if we had such a person this would be a major problem for them.