No Joy for Maliki bumped & updated

Maliki is in trouble, which means so are we. Now Saudi’s King Abdullah is ratcheting
up the pressure (and no doubt the presidential panic) by dissing al-Maliki.
After calling U.S. efforts in Iraq an “illegitimate occupation” no
one should be surprised.

In a serious rebuff to U.S. diplomacy, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has
refused to receive Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on the eve of a critical
regional summit on the future of the war-ravaged country, Iraqi and other
Arab officials said yesterday.

The Saudi leader’s decision reflects the growing tensions between the oil-rich
regional giants, the deepening skepticism among Sunni leaders in the Middle
East about Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, and Arab concern about the
prospects of U.S. success in Iraq, the sources said. The Saudi snub also indicates
that the Maliki government faces a creeping regional isolation unless it takes
long-delayed actions, Arab officials warn.

For the United States, the Saudi cold shoulder undermines hopes of healing
regional tensions between Sunni- and Shiite-dominated governments and producing
a new spirit of cooperation on Iraq at the summit, to be held Thursday and
Friday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the sources warn. … ..

King Declines to Receive Iraqi Leader

The Thursday and Friday summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh is
looking symbolic at this point. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will not
attend, with rumors that Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki won’t either.
Bush and his girl Condi can’t seem to get any of these guys to sit down and
talk. Gee, I wonder why.

But as for the Saudi’s continuing rift with al-Maliki, no doubt part of the
problem is the report that is making the rounds today.

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 U.S. military officials in Baghdad.


“Their only crimes or offenses were they were successful” against
the Mahdi Army, a powerful Shiite militia, said Brig. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard,
commanding general of the Iraq Assistance Group, which works with Iraqi security
forces. “I’m tired of seeing good Iraqi officers having to look over
their shoulders when they’re trying to do the right thing.”

The issue strikes at a central question about the fledgling government of
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki: whether it can put sectarian differences aside
to deliver justice fairly. … ..

Office Is Seen Behind Purge in Forces

Some Commanders Had Pursued Militias

Maliki’s behavior and this report can’t exactly be news to the Saudis.

Iraq is the colossal disaster that just keeps on giving and giving and…

UPDATE: Almost forgot, don’t miss William F. Buckley’s column on the “Waning GOP.” It’s a must read.