Hamilton chides feckless Iraq leadership

July 16, 2007 at 3:32 PM

WASHINGTON, July 16 (UPI) -- The co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group warned Monday that Iraq's security forces and its political leaders were not yet ready to go it alone.

Speaking on NBC's "Today Show," former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had been unable to either ramp up Iraq's security capabilities or forge the political unification that will be the deciding factor in ending ongoing sectarian violence in the streets.

"He has known exactly what he has to do, but he hasn't done it," Hamilton said. "His rhetoric is pretty good; his performance is pretty bad."

Maliki wasn't saddled with all of the blame. Hamilton said the Iraqi parliament was "not dealing with the fundamental problems of the country."

The Iraq Study Group's landmark report on the complex situation in Iraq is considered a blueprint for an eventual end to U.S. operations in Iraq and the establishment of a peaceful and stable government.

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