Thursday, June 21, 2007

Top Iraqi Officials Growing Restless : Vice President Has Tried to Quit; Shiite Leaders in Disarray

Washington Post

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi, a senior Shiite politician often mentioned as a potential prime minister, tendered his resignation last week in a move that reflects deepening frustration inside the Iraqi government with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Other senior Iraqi officials have considered resigning in recent weeks over the failures of their government to make progress after more than a year in power, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials.

Abdul Mahdi said he was provoked by the second bombing of the Shiite shrine in Samarra on June 13, in which he said corrupt police abetted Sunni insurgents. "The two minarets were as important to us as September 11, and we should be accountable to the people," Abdul Mahdi said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "We should be doing more to move in a positive direction -- on corruption, accountability and defending the important sites."

Abdul Mahdi's attempted resignation, which has been held at bay by promises of action, is also a sign of growing disarray among the Shiites who lead the government.

As the U.S. military attempts to show the success this summer of a security plan to pacify the capital and other parts of the country, Iraq's prime minister has also entered what many officials say is a crucial test period for his government. A growing number of Iraqi leaders, including several fellow Shiites, are expressing discontent with Maliki's ability to stanch the bloodshed, contain civil war, make progress on economic fronts and share power with the minority Sunnis........

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