Levin and Warner Call for New Iraq Government
A triumvirate of Senate foreign affairs leaders have expressed their lack of confidence in the Maliki government to get a grip on the political affairs of Iraq.
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, after completing a two-day tour of Iraq, said Monday that the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki should be voted from office because it has proved incapable of reaching the political compromises required to end violence there.
The Democratic chairman, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, and the committee’s ranking Republican, Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, who traveled to Iraq together, issued a joint statement that was only slightly more temperate than Mr. Levin’s remarks. They warned that in the view of politicians in Washington, and of the American people, “time has run out” on attempts to forge a political consensus in Baghdad.
Mr. Levin said that in his view, the political stalemate in Iraq could be attributed to Mr. Maliki and other senior Iraqi officials who were unable to operate independently of religious and sectarian leaders. “I’ve concluded that this is a government which cannot, is unable to, achieve a political settlement,” Mr. Levin said. “It is too bound to its own sectarian roots, and it is too tied to forces in Iraq which do not yield themselves to compromise.”
“While we believe that the ‘surge’ is having measurable results, and has provided a degree of ‘breathing space’ for Iraqi politicians to make the political compromises which are essential for a political solution in Iraq, we are not optimistic about the prospects for those compromises,” the joint statement said.
In response to my questioning yesterday, Senator John McCain said much the same thing.
The fact that Maliki decided to go on vacation during the Surge would seem to be further proof that he’s not up to the task at hand. Whether anyone else is, of course, is an open question. As McCain noted yesterday, there doesn’t appear to be an Ataturk in the wings.