Intelligence Community Doubts Iraqi Leadership

Big insurgent offensive may be in the works
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 23, 2007 2:04 PM CDT
Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, attends a meeting at the foreign ministry in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2007. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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.