“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job!”
President Bush said Wednesday he wants Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney to remain in his administration until the end of his presidency[.] (“Both men are doing fantastic jobs.”)
AMMAN, Jordan, Nov. 30 — President Bush today proclaimed Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki "the right guy for Iraq," and said the two had agreed to speed the turnover of security responsibility from American to Iraqi forces.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 — The White House said Friday that President Bush would meet next week with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of one of the most powerful Shiite parties in Iraq, the latest step in a burst of new administration attempts to try different approaches to bolstering the fragile Iraqi government.
The effort is part of a White House strategy that calls for reaching out to a wider circle of Iraqi politicians to give greater support to the weak government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, and lessen his dependence on Moktada al-Sadr, the anti-American Shiite cleric.
Yes, that would be the same Abdul Aziz l-Hkim who is the head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The SCIRI that is backed by Iran. The same Iran that is part of the “axis of evil” and is endangering peace in the world by trying to get nuclear weapons and is a serious danger to the United States. The Iran whose President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is more evil than Hitler because…. Well, just because Iran is next on Bu$hCo’s targets list.
No one should be surprised by this move. Not because it is a smart diplomatic move, but because the Bu$h malAdministration is desperately floundering in Iraq. Painted into a corner by Mr Bu$h’s ego-driven insistence on attacking Iraq in order to prove to his mother that he is a greater warrior than his father, they went into this swamp with no follow up plan, beguiled by the self-interested blandishments of Ahmad Chalabi, their designated puppet for the westernized government they needed to support their plans for the rest of the Middle East. It’s quite ironic; a pack of con men gulled by one of their own.
And it’s part of the Bu$h habit pattern to compliment the sacrifice as the knife is sharpened.
But let’s just this once lay aside the cynicism and consider the possibility that this is all straight stuff, and Mr Bu$h really does want to stick with Prime Minister Maliki and support his government in its task to overcome all the domestic opposition and bring peace to this tragically savaged country. Why Hakim? He’s a political competitor of Muqtada al-Sadr, and Sadr commands the Mahdi Army, a group of tough trained fighters that some have estimated as being as large as 70,000. Why not Sadr himself?
There’s a lot of bad blood between al-Sadr and the US. He’s been a pretty constant opponent of the US occupation and the abject failure of that occupation has proven him right. He’s not the religious and ideological icon that his father was, but he is the leader of his father’s political faction, and has their complete loyalty and confidence. He is a powerbroker in today’s Iraq. It’s estimated that Sadr and his organization lends more than 30% of Maliki’s support.
Hakim is the Hobson’s choice.
Mr Bu$h has had a lot of domestic opposition from his own party because of the loss of power following the mid-term elections. The message that has been put to him is clear: win in Iraq, or get us out before the 2008 elections or we will be destroyed. Thus we see the tame Baker-Hamilton Commission blandly stating we will be disengaged in Iraq by mid-2008, despite Mr Bu$h’s insistence that we will stay there “until the job is done.” Mr Bu$h’s meeting this week with Mr Maliki officially confirmed that he’s the “right guy” to clean up Mr Bu$h’s mess in Iraq, and get the country pacified.
The message to Maliki: get this straightened out or you’re toast.
The message to Hakim: help us subdue Sadr and be the kingmaker.
There’s a third message, of course, unspoken. American meddling in Iraq is dangerous. Consider how things would look if a foreign leader, like, say Russian President Vladimir Putin, met with Hillary Clinton to discuss cleaning up the mess that is America.