A National Intelligence Estimate released today reveals that the US intelligence community doubts Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki has the ability to lead the country effectively, CNN reports. Coming one day after President Bush defended Maliki in a speech, the report by US intelligence agencies also expresses worry over a possible large-scale, coordinated offensive by insurgents in the coming weeks.
"Iraqi leaders remain unable to govern effectively," concludes the declassified version of the estimate. The report also discourages a quick pullout of US troops, which would further jeopardize a situation that Iraqi security forces, though improving, can't handle without outside help. Support by neighboring Syria and Iran for extremist groups also continues to take its toll, the estimate adds.