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On Wednesday, the presidents of Iran and Iraq, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Jalal Talabani respectively, held a joint press conference to announce that three days of talks between them had produced a security agreement to help stabilize Iraq.

"We discussed in the fields of security, economy, oil and industry. Our agreement was complete," Talabani told reporters. "This visit was 100 percent successful. Its result will appear soon."

As expected, Ahmadinejad took the opportunity to again urge the United States to withdraw its forces.

"I advise you to leave Iraq. Based on a timetable, transfer the responsibilities to Iraqi government. This will agree to your interests, too."

This announcement appears timed to preempt a planned meeting, in Jordan, between president Bush and Iraqi prime minister Al-Maliki on the same topic.

Also ahead of the Jordan meeting, a White House memo was leaked that details the National Security Advisers concerns for Al-Maliki's competence and/or intentions:

The memo said there are reports of "intervention by the prime minister's office to stop military action against Shia targets and to encourage them against Sunni ones, removal of Iraq's most effective commanders on a sectarian basis and efforts to ensure Shia majorities in all ministries."

The report said it isn't clear that al-Maliki is "a witting participant" in this push for Shiite power, but "the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests 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."

Wednesday was not a good day for the Bush Administration or American foreign policy.


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