President Bush called it another “defining moment” in Iraq. But our editorial today argues that the clash between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Shiite militias seems to have revealed once again that the Iraqi government is not yet capable of standing up and delivering. Al-Maliki — himself a Shiite — drew a line in the sand last week, telling Muqtada al-Sadrâ€™s Mahdi Army militia that it had 72 hours to turn in its arms in Basra or face a fight to the finish. But the fighters didnâ€™t budge, and when the deadline approached, al-Maliki blinked, moving back the deadline. It made him look weak. Nor did he succeed in his aim of disarming the militias. Al-Maliki must still prove that he has the political skills and toughness to unite the country behind him and chart a path toward a stable, self-governing Iraq. Weâ€™re still waiting for that defining moment.
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