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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. (Read more Nouri al-Maliki stories.)