Republican strategist Jack Burkman joins the show
from Washington DC
Senior American officials have expressed disappointment at Iraq's government for what they say is its slow progress in restoring peace by resolving factional differences.

Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Iraq, spoke of "a certain level of frustration" with the Iraqi leadership for its failure to achieve political reconciliation. One Democrat senator said the Iraqi parliament should replace Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.

Al-Maliki rejected US criticism of his administration and threatened to find "friends elsewhere". This comment came on the third and final day of his trip to Syria.

Alarmed by the harsh reaction of al-Maliki, George Bush, the US president, hurriedly rewrote a speech to praise the prime minister as a "good man with a difficult job".

The diplomatic spat has revealed a growing level of friction and frustration in the relationship between the US and Iraqi governments.

What does the Iraqi government think of the statements coming out of the US and is it serious about finding new allies in the region?

Is US domestic politics behind the hardening tone towards the Iraqi prime minister?

Is the withdrawal of US troops the best way to convince the Iraqi government to make progress on political reconciliation, as one Republican senator has recently suggested?

And what are we to make of President Bush's comparison last week to the bloodshed and chaos that followed the US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975 as a reason for not withdrawing from Iraq any time soon?

This episode of Inside Iraq aired from 24 August 2007

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