WASHINGTON, April 27 — The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, and many of Mr. Bush’s top advisers now anticipate that any gains by then will be limited, according to senior administration officials.And as Cernig at Newshoggers points out the Bush administration is not alone in "scaling back its expectations for the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki". While the Iranians are more than happy to try to pull his strings the Saudis don't even consider him relevant.
In interviews over the past week, the officials made clear that the White House is gradually scaling back its expectations for the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The time lines they are now discussing suggest that the White House may maintain the increased numbers of American troops in Iraq well into next year.
That prospect would entail a dramatically longer commitment of frontline troops, patrolling the most dangerous neighborhoods of Baghdad, than the one envisioned in legislation that passed the House and Senate this week. That vote, largely symbolic because Democrats do not have the votes to override the promised presidential veto, set deadlines that would lead to the withdrawal of combat troops by the end of March 2008.
But Saudi Arabia isn't interested:Now we all know there is a time table. The Bush administration has weeks not months to convince RepublicanSaudi Arabia's King Abdullah has denied Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki entrance into Saudi Arabia, according to a senior Saudi intelligence source.The president of Iran was recently welcomed by the Saudi monarch. The suspicion must be that he prefers to deal with the organ-grinder rather than his monkey.
The king believes al-Maliki, who wanted to go to Saudi Arabia on a state visit, is not doing enough to protect Sunnis from attacks by Shias, the source said.
The Saudi kingdom is a Sunni-dominated state.
There was no immediate reaction from al-Maliki's office.