Thursday, November 30, 2006

Notes on the Bush-Maliki Summit

What President Bush has to say is not very interesting because he cares so little about the real world. The same is the case with Bush's current summit with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Jordan. Bush talks about "finishing the mission" and victory. The whole world knows that a U. S. victory in Iraq is no more likely than the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series or Vanderbilt University winning the Super Bowl. So nobody particularly listens.

Maliki is a different story though. Today it emerged that he told Condi Rice that al-Sadr and the Mahdi army militia were "not a big problem." Now there's a formulation that's ripe for multiple interpretations. Perhaps al-Maliki meant that al-Sadr and his forces were not a very formidable force and that he could deal with them before his morning prayers if he really wanted. Al-Maliki--too tough to care.

Or perhaps Sadr is "not a big problem" because Maliki sees the Shiite militias as an important element in the power of the Iraqi government. That's a possibility because the ferocity of the Shiite militias has demonstrated indeed that Shiites are willing and able to defend themselves. With the Shiite militias integrated throughout the government, there can be little doubt that the elected Shiite government can defend itself against Sunni insurgents and al-Qaeda.

Or perhaps, al-Maliki thinks that Sadr is "not a big problem" because he knows that an American attack on Sadr and the Sadr City slum of Baghdad would create a much bigger problem.

Maybe Maliki was saying that Sadr is "not a big problem" compared to Rice and the rest of the blundering Bush administration.

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