Maliki playing to Bush weakness
After a hastily arranged video conference with George Bush, Iraq's prime minister said Saturday that the U.S. president promised to move swiftly to turn over full control of the Iraqi army to the Baghdad government. A close aide to Nouri al-Maliki said later the prime minister was intentionally playing on U.S. voter displeasure with the war to strengthen his hand with Washington.
"The U.S. ambassador is not (L. Paul) Bremer (the former U.S. administrator in Iraq). He does not have a free rein to do what he likes. Khalilzad must not behave like Bremer but rather like an ambassador," al-Suneid quoted al-Maliki as saying.
Also in these articles (WaPo, NYTimes) is an effort by Maliki to gain more control of Iraqi forces. He may well be attempting to institutionalize the civil war.