Anyway, one of the reasons for the meeting was actually explicitly laid out by Stephen Hadley, Bush's national security adviser, in a memo which was subsequently leaked. The quotation from that memo which the media focused on concerned Hadley's doubts about al-Maliki.
The reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action.This quotation seems to have dominated coverage of the memo to the exclusion of its wider implications as Chris Weigant at the Huffington Post does an excellent job of pointing out. They really don't have the faintest idea what they're doing.
There are two quotations from the memo relevant to Bush's meeting with al-Hakim. The first in the section titled "Augmenting Maliki’s Political and Security Capabilities", says this:
[We should] Actively support Maliki in helping him develop an alternative political base. We would likely need to use our own political capital to press moderates to align themselves with Maliki’s new political bloc.The thinking is that al-Maliki's room for manoeuvre is extremely limited because he is dependent on Shiite factions with mostly sectarian concerns. On that at least, they are correct.
The second relevant quotation, in the "Moving Ahead" section, says:
If Maliki seeks to build an alternative political base [we should] Press Sunni and other Iraqi leaders (especially Hakim) [Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Maliki rival] to support Maliki.The meeting then, was partly about persuading the "moderate" al-Hakim to align himself more closely with al-Maliki so that the Iraqi PM is freed from the constraints imposed by his sectarian Shiite political base.
You can perhaps see why this didn't fully register when I wrote the previous post. The Bush administration wants to free al-Maliki of constraints imposed by his sectarian Shiite supporters by making him more reliant on al-Hakim, the leader of the Iranian backed, intensely sectarian Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
Normally at this stage, it'd be time to dig up satire's corpse for another bloody killing. Unfortunately, satire's corpse has recently developed an addiction to cocaine and it doesn't seem right to kill it again when it's in such a state. Fortunately, President Bush has a plan to reduce its dependence on the insidious nose sherbet. He's going to give it free crack.
Tags: News, Politics, Iraq, Iran, President Bush