In light of the recent increase in violence in Baghdad, and now some backpedaling by the Administration regarding pullout commitments, this image — as part of Callie Shell’s 77-photo Obama “100 Days” slide show — offers an interesting window.
In the photo, taken at Camp Victory during Obama’s recent trip to Iraq, we see “44” greeting Iraqi diplomatics while Maliki shakes hands with NSC head General Jones. The most telling feature here involves Obama and Maliki with their backs to each other. With Maliki fueling tension with the Sunnis through his rejection of the Baathists, and more significantly, his failure to accommodate the U.S.-designed Awakening movement, Maliki is showing Obama exactly why we need to depart Iraq as soon as possible.
If Obama and Maliki offer the picture of balance, it’s not hard to imagine Rahm and U.S. Commander General in Iraq, Ordieno, over there in the corner, representing a more unguarded impression of the Iraqi leadership.
(Note: link fixed)
(image: Callie Shell/Aurora for TIME)