Meet the New Boss
Iraq's new president, Moqtada Al- Sadr
The New Iraqi Presidential bodyguard
(formerly known as the Mahdi Army)
Bush-Maliki Talks Are Postponed
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Published: November 29, 2006
AMMAN, Jordan, Nov. 29 —The first meeting in a scheduled two-day summit between President Bush and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of Iraq was canceled at the last minute today, against the backdrop of threats by a radical Shiite cleric to boycott the Maliki government and the disclosure of a classified White House memo that was highly critical of Mr. Maliki.
In Amman, there were signs that President Bush would be greeted with a decidedly blunt message.
Mr. Bush and Mr. Maliki still intend to have breakfast together here Thursday morning, and to hold a much-anticipated press conference afterward.
But a joint session planned for this evening with their Jordanian host, King Abdullah II, was abruptly called off while Mr. Bush was in the air, flying to Amman from Riga, Latvia.
Mr. Bush’s counselor, Dan Bartlett, told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One that there was no need for the three-way session, since Mr. Maliki and King Abdullah had already met earlier in the day and Mr. Bush and King Abdullah were planning to have a separate, private dinner together later in the evening.
Mr. Bartlett said the cancellation had nothing to do with disclosure of the classified memo, reported in today’s issue of The New York Times. “No one should read too much into this, except for the fact that they had a good meeting,” Mr. Bartlett said, referring to Mr. Maliki and the king.
Meanwhile in Baghdad, lawmakers and cabinet members loyal to the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr followed through today on a previous threat to boycott the government if Mr. Maliki went to Amman to meet with Mr. Bush. They said in a statement today that they were suspending their participation in both the parliament and the cabinet.
Bush goes to Jordan, indicating some level of crisis in the US-Iraqi relationship, and the Iraqi prime minister refuses to meet with him?
Who refuses to meet with the US president? When he has troops in your country and is keeping your country on life support.
Read the lame excuse a humiliated White House came up with.
Can we cut the bullshit and admit that Sadr now runs Iraq.
Today’s widely anticipated meeting between President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki was abruptly canceled. CNN suggests that it “was put off to Thursday after a U.S. memo cast doubt on al-Maliki’s ability to deal with the sectarian warfare in Iraq.” Bush counsellor Dan Bartlett put that speculation to rest with this clear explanation:
BARTLETT: The President is going to have a bilateral and dinner with the King of Jordan. Since the King of Jordan and Prime Minister Maliki had a bilateral themselves, earlier today, everybody believed that negated the purpose for the three of them to meet tonight, together, in a trilateral setting. So the plan, according to — since they had such a good, productive bilateral discussion, was just for the President to deal with bilateral issues and other issues with the King this evening in a dinner setting, and then the meetings set for tomorrow will still take place as scheduled.
Is that clear? No? Ok, here’s more Bartlett:
QUESTION: The King and the Prime Minister had a meeting, but the Prime Minister hasn’t seen the President since he got here, and the President changed his schedule to come here for this meeting.
BARTLETT: The President requested the meeting. This was the President requesting the meeting with the Prime Minister. And the substantive meetings on Iraq — look, they were not going to be doing a full detail discussion in a trilateral setting about Iraq and the future of Iraq and the strategy anyway, that just wouldn’t be appropriate. So it was going to be more of a social meeting anyways. But the fact that they had already had a good meeting together, felt like it negated the purpose to doing so. And the President and Prime Minister Maliki will have a very robust and lengthy dialogue tomorrow morning.
So the President flew to Jordan to have a “social meeting” with Maliki, which Maliki decided not to attend. There’s nothing more to it. That should put all the speculation to rest.
posted by Steve @ 3:15:00 PM