“Weak? Who you callin’ weak? Does this righteous Shi’ite brother look weak to you?”
Maliki is a “weak leader,” of course, because he is a Shi’ite. Abdullah wants a Sunni-ruled Iraq. And in Tabuk, the site of Muhammad’s abortive last battle (against the Byzantines), Abdullah pulls Cheney’s strings.
“Cheney works to overcome Saudi qualms: VP meets with King Abdullah amid growing skepticism over Iraq,” from AP:
TABUK, Saudi Arabia – Vice President Dick Cheney worked to overcome Saudi skepticism over the U.S. military strategy to secure Baghdad and the leadership capabilities of Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki.
Cheney met with King Abdullah at a royal palace in this northern city on Saturday. The king, while considered an important U.S. ally in the Arab world, increasingly has sent signals that he doubts the effectiveness of President Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq.
Abdullah also has signaled that he sees al-Maliki as a weak leader with too many ties to pro-Iranian Shiite parties to be effective in reaching out to Iraqi’s Sunni minority. Saudi Arabia has a predominantly Sunni Muslim population.