Leaked White House Memo Reveals Serious Doubts About Iraqi Prime Minister

President Bush will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (right) in Jordan today. (Photo courtesy ABC News / ABCNews.com)
President Bush will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (right) in Jordan today. (Photo courtesy ABC News / ABCNews.com)

President Bush will make his way to Jordan today, where he'll have just 24 hours to talk with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

At the same time, a memo has been leaked that Bush's own administration has serious doubts about al-Maliki.

White House Officials tell ABC News that there are serious doubts as to whether al-Maliki is willing or able to quell the sectarian violence in Iraq, since his own political survival depends on the support from some of the shiite militias responsible for the bloodshed.

The White House is confirming the veracity of a leaked classified memo from the president's national security advisor Stephen Hadley that says, "the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests al-Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action."

The document was prepared after Hadley met with al-Maliki in Baghdad last month. The administration has been careful not to be too harsh in public on al-Maliki, but the President made clear in his most recent comments what his expectations will be from their meeting.

"My question to him will be: what do we need to do to succeed? What is your strategy in dealing with the sectarian violence?," Bush said.

The real fear is that the goals that al-Maliki and the U.S. have for Iraq are not the same.

More Troops and Help Needed to Quell Chaos

Dan Senor, former coalition provisional authority adviser in Iraq and a former Bush policy advisor, explained the conflict of interest on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday.

To curb chaos in Iraq, the United States will need to send more troops to the embattled country as well as attempt to appeal to Syria and Iran, although their assistance is "highly unlikely," according to Senor.

"Ultimately if we want to stabilize Iraq, we're going to have to increase our presence there," Senor told "GMA."

Senor says the U.S. should also hope for, but not expect, help from Iraq's neighbors Iran and Syria.

"We are hoping that we can pressure Iran and Syria ... and get them to change their current strategy," Senor said.

Senor says the United States' ideal agreement would be that Syria would reduce funding to Iraq's larger militias.

"Our dream scenario [is] that he [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] will cut off the funding ... for some of the large militias in Iraq," Senor said. "It will be that much harder for the large militias in Iraq to operate."

That scenario, however, is "highly unlikely," he said.

Ahmadinejad "wants us bogged down in Iraq ... so he can continue to build his nuclear program unabated," Senor said. "So keeping us mired in Iraq is sort of consistent with those objectives."

Border Control

Syria could help control chaos in Iraq by exercising greater control over the Syria-Iraq border, according to Senor.

"This is the key border. ... many of them [the insurgents] come through this border " Senor said. "The Syrians are almost turning a blind eye. We would love to Damascus ... to shut down that border ... and prevent insurgents from coming through."

Again, Senor called this scenario, "highly unlikely" because it is in Syrian President Bashar Assad's best interests for chaos in Iraq to continue.

"The last thing that he wants his own citizens to see is that it [the overthrow of Saddam Hussein] was successful," Senor said.

The Role of Sunni Governments

Sunni-controlled governments, like Jordan, may also be able to help quell violence in Iraq.

"The theory goes that some of these governments, can pressure the Sunni leadership to calm down at least temporarily," Senor said. "If these governments can help al-Maliki in calming down one front of the war it will be easier for him."

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