John Burns and Sabrina Tavernise in the New York Times report that a Shiite political leader who has worked closely with the Americans in the past said the Bush benchmarks appeared to have been drawn up in the expectation that Maliki would not meet them.
Asking that he not be named because he did not want to be seen as publicly criticizing the prime minister, the politician said,
He cannot deliver the disarming of the militias. He cannot deliver a good program for the economy and reconstruction. He cannot deliver on services. This is a matter of fact. There is a common understanding on the American side and the Iraqi side.This is just another line-of-scrimmage play designed to maintain possession of the football until time runs out in 2009? See below.