Maliki Doomed to Weaken: US Report

In a bleak outlook of the political situation in Iraq, US intelligence officials have depicted the Nuri al-Maliki's government as paralyzed and is doomed to weaken in the coming months.

Maliki Doomed to Weaken: US Report

In a bleak outlook of the political situation in Iraq, US intelligence officials have depicted the Nuri al-Maliki's government as paralyzed and is doomed to weaken in the coming months, The New York Times reported Friday, August 24.

"The IC (intelligence community) assesses that the Iraqi government will become more precarious over the next six to 12 months because of criticism by other members of the major Shia coalition" as well as Sunni and Kurdish parties, warned the new National Intelligence Estimate.

Unless there is "a fundamental shift in factors driving Iraqi political and security developments," the political compromises needed for "sustained security, long-term political progress, and economic development are unlikely to emerge," the assessment said.

The update, which represents the consensus of 16 US intelligence agencies, is called "Prospects for Iraq's Stability: Some Progress but Political Reconciliation Elusive."

It was released after being declassified by the Director for National Intelligence, and come amid mounting frustration inside the US administration at the lack of political progress in Iraq.

Maliki's attempts to bridge Iraq's ethnic and sectarian divides have so far failed, with 17 of 40 ministers having resigned or decided to boycott the cabinet and unending daily bloodshed taking its toll on ordinary Iraqis.

In February the intelligence community's assessment of the Iraq situation warned that even if the violence subsided, Iraqi leaders would be "hard pressed" to achieve political reconciliation over the next 12-18 months.

The new intelligence estimate comes just weeks before General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, and US Ambassador Ryan Crocker offer their own assessment of whether US strategy has worked and what to do next.

They are scheduled to testify before Congress September 11 and 12, and issue a report on the situation on September 15.

More Alienation

The intelligence assessment warned that the policies of the Maliki government towards Sunnis risk alienating the community further.

It warned that frustrated Sunnis will ultimately choose to side with the armed opponents of the Shiite-led government.

The Sunni resistance to the Al-Qaeda in Iraq had expanded but had not yet translated into broad support for the government or willingness to work with Shiites, it said.

"Bottom up" security initiatives among Sunnis focused on combating Al-Qaeda offer the best prospect for improved security over the next year, but only if the Iraqi government accepts and supports them, it concluded.

The estimate came after Maliki has been rebuked by President George W. Bush and senior US lawmakers, who have called for the embattled premier to go arguing that he has so far failed to deliver any major pieces of legislation aimed at promoting reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites.

Bush this week expressed his frustration with the Iraqi government, only to reaffirm his support for Maliki the following day following strongly-worded statements and explicit threats to break with the US for new allies from Maliki.

A US government official told the Times that the new intelligence report "leaves you with the sense that what we've been doing hasn't been working, but we can't let up, or it'll get worse."

Additional Evidence

The report casts strong doubts on the viability of the Bush administration strategy in Iraq, the Times said.

It, however, says that the surge of US troops in Iraq has achieved some successes in lowering sectarian violence, but concludes that Iraqi leaders "remain unable to govern effectively."

Since February, the United States has sent 30,000 additional troops to Iraq, boosting its force levels to 162,000 in a bid to stem a slide toward civil war.

The report further warned against immediate withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq, saying it would "erode security gains achieved thus far" and could return Iraq to a downward spiral of sectarian violence.

Senior Democrats said the report showed that the White House had failed in its effort to use the troop increase to promote political progress in Iraq, and that it was time for the United States to change course.

"Further pursuit of the administration's flawed escalation strategy is not in our nation's best interests," said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, a Democratic presidential candidate, said the report had provided "additional evidence" that Bush's approach "has failed."

"We need to stop refereeing this civil war, and start getting out now."

And Influential Republican Sen. John Warner said Bush should announce on Sept. 15 a small initial pullout of US troops from Iraq to spur the Iraqi government to take steps toward political reconciliation.

More than half of 100 of America's most respected foreign-policy experts - Republicans and Democrats alike - Bush's troop surge in Iraq has proved futile and is having a negative impact on US national security, according to a new survey by Foreign Policy magazine released last week.

A US military assessment concluded in May that American troops were only able to control less than one-third of Baghdad's neighborhoods despite the deployment of the additional troops.

A July Newsweek poll found that 64 percent of Americans believe the surge plan was useless.


Last Mod: 24 Ağustos 2007, 16:14
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