The NY Times today:
Senior Iraqi and American officials are beginning to question whether Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has the political muscle and decisiveness to hold Iraq together as it hovers on the edge of a full civil war.
Maliki may not be able to manage, but I know who could.
But nobody wants that. There is a problem with expecting someone who has been in office for 4 months in a country that has been "hovering on the edge of a full civil war" for at least that long to have “the political muscle and decisiveness to hold Iraq together.” Especially when that someone replaced as prime minister another someone who was “forced to withdraw his nomination for premiership for the permanent government because of accusations of weak leadership.”
In this situation, strong leadership would certainly be desirable, but I’m not convinced after reading the Times article that it is what is lacking here. Maliki seems to be doing the best he can to manage a fundamentally untenable situation. One might say that constant pressure for results from the Americans and a willingness to shuffle out democratically elected leaders who don’t immediately resolve Iraq’s political problems might be contributing to Maliki’s difficulties more than any supposed weakness of character.
Then again, it could just be that Maliki lacks the will to win . . .