Makes no sense otherwise for Maliki to have gambled so foolishly against Sadr's militia. Maliki had nothing to lose, being without even a faded reputation of effective control over Iraq to redeem, and with nobody to replace him (notice nobody is replacing him, now that he's failed). The current U.S. administration had a chance to pull out of the air the appearance of having accomplished something with the surge and the propping of the Maliki government--all the more if a successful anti-Sadr campaign appeared to have been Maliki's independent doing. Seemingly every increment of ostensible progress the nominal government of Iraq has so far accomplished (besides clandestine killings) has been with the hands of the White House forcing forward their behinds. Suddenly they propose to make Sadr's militia stand down? Quite a change of character. Notice how when Maliki was forced to push back the deadline for his ultimatum, he pushed it no farther than the date Patreus is due to testify to Congress on the state of U.S. troops and strategy in the former Iraq? That's a date Bush & Co. would choose. Notice that Malaki was quick to push back his deadline and quick to withdraw his ultimatum? Doesn't seem like his heart was in it, does it? And could he have really been such a booby about his army's chances against Sadr's militia? The only administration with a record of intelligence that bad there is Bush's.