Oh God! She’s using the look…
Condi and Dick demand puppets work faster! faster!:
Worried about a political deadlock in Iraq and a spike in mayhem from an emboldened insurgency, the Bush administration has pressed Iraqi leaders in recent days to end their stalemate over forming a new government, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Dick Cheney personally exhorting top Kurdish and Shiite politicians to come together.
Washington’s approach to the political negotiations had emphasized that the Iraqis needed to form their own government without interference. But American and Iraqi officials have increasingly blamed the delay for a rise in violence in recent weeks that has killed more than a hundred Iraqis and threatens to destroy what remains of the political and security momentum that followed the successful Jan. 30 elections.
Ms. Rice on Friday telephoned Iraq’s new president, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, to urge him to complete the government “as soon as they could” and “to get a status of where things were,” a senior State Department official in Washington said Sunday. The official stressed that Ms. Rice did not tell Mr. Talabani how to form a government, just that the process needed to be concluded.
The impact of the White House pressure was unclear. On Sunday, Shiite leaders once again predicted they were on the verge of announcing their new government, perhaps as soon as Monday. Similar predictions have been proved wrong several times in recent weeks.
But the Shiites added a new twist on Sunday, declaring they would no longer hold out for a deal with Ayad Allawi, the outgoing prime minister. Dr. Allawi, a secular Shiite who is not liked by the main Shiite political alliance, had demanded several key posts for his party, including either defense or interior minister, oil or finance minister, and deputy prime minister.
In an interview Sunday, Ali al-Adeeb – a Shiite member of the National Assembly and a leader in Dawa, the party of the newly appointed prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari – said, “Allawi is out of the cabinet. We don’t need any delay because of this issue.” Many Shiites believe Dr. Allawi is too sympathetic to Sunnis, while many Kurdish officials fear Dr. Jaafari is too Islamist.
Late Sunday, another Shiite alliance adviser cautioned that while the “current discussions” do not include Dr. Allawi, it was unfair to say he has been ruled out of the cabinet “because there is no government yet.” He predicted that the Shiites would not be able to announce a cabinet on Monday. A senior Allawi aide, Rasim al-Awadi, said Sunday afternoon that “we’ve heard nothing yet from” the Shiites about Dr. Allawi’s demands for cabinet posts.
Oh yeah. This is going well.
Maybe we should send Bolton over there to kick some ass. He’d like that…
(Added): I was having a problem with both the shape of Condi’s head, because it’s just so oblong, as well as her look. Then I remembered that she is the love-child of Eartha Kitt and spaceman Kif and now I feel better and I can go to bed.