"Maliki is not the Problem"
Senator Carl Levin says “said yesterday that Iraq’s parliament should oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet if they are unable to forge a political compromise with rival factions in a matter of days.” Today, President George W. Bush made “a striking attempt . . . to distance itself from the Maliki government before September, when the president’s troop buildup faces an intense review on Capitol Hill.”
This is crazy talk. As Eric Martin points out we went through this exact cycle just last year. Back in the day some crazy and unserious persosn such as myself wondered what good “ousting” Ibrahim Jafari and replacing him with another member of the same political coalition would do. But no! George Bush and David Ignatius assured us that Maliki was the man. Now Maliki’s not the man! But the man’s not the problem. There’s a structural problem here about what sort of leadership is possible given the objective correlation of political forces on the ground. We can go through a half dozen coups and 17 prime ministers and if it does anything it’ll make things worse.