Iraq's prime minister saw his support erode on two fronts Wednesday as a White House memo questioned his leadership and a powerful political bloc suspended participation in Iraq's government.
The classified memo by President Bush's national security adviser Stephen Hadley questions whether Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki can end the bloody sectarian violence in Iraq, and especially whether he can rein in the Mehdi Army militia loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Hours after details of the Hadley memo first appeared in Wednesday's New York Times, Cabinet ministers and members of the Iraqi parliament loyal to al-Sadr underscored al-Maliki's shaky position, saying they would stop participating in his government.
The al-Sadr supporters had said earlier they would take such action if al-Maliki went ahead with a meeting with Bush on Thursday in Jordan.
There are about 30 lawmakers loyal to al-Sadr in the 275-member parliament, and six Cabinet ministers from his bloc.
An interesting development. There's been lots of talk of replacing Maliki... does this leaked memo play into a plan along those lines?