On Jan. 11, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Bush administration would not “stay married” to its Baghdad security plan if the Iraqis do “not [live] up to their part of the obligation.” She said that “the most important thing that the Iraqi government has to do right now is to reestablish the confidence of its population that it’s going to be even-handed in defending it,” otherwise “this plan is not going to work.” Watch it:
Those two to three months are up, and recent troubling reports indicate that Maliki’s office has not been “even-handed” in defending the Iraqi population and has actually increased sectarian tensions:
– “A department of the Iraqi prime minister’s office is playing a leading role in the arrest and removal of senior Iraqi army and national police officers, some of whom had apparently worked too aggressively to combat violent Shiite militias.”
– According to a recent poll, Maliki inspires confidence in 72 percent of Shiites, but just eight percent of Sunnis.
– “The UN has sharply criticised the Iraqi government’s human rights record, in the two months since a security plan was launched in the capital, Baghdad. The UN mission for Iraq said Iraqi authorities had failed to guarantee the basic rights of about 3,000 people they had detained in the operations.”
– In its April 26 Iraq Index, the Brookings Institution found “no progress thus far” on four of Rice’s benchmarks: establishing new election laws, scheduling provincial elections, disbanding militias, or putting together a plan for national reconciliation.
Even though the Iraqi government has been largely unsuccessful in meeting its political benchmarks, the Bush administration refuses to change its plan in Iraq. Yesterday on CBS’s Face the Nation, Rice said that the administration opposes imposing any “so-called consequences” on Maliki’s government “for missing the benchmarks,” and plans to veto any bill that does so.
UPDATE: Video of the hearing has been added.
Full transcript: Read more