One Maliki aide said the prime minister wants "heavier weapons" and is concerned that Iraqi security forces are outgunned by militias and insurgents.
"Basically the level of weapons in the current army is really a disgrace," said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. In many cases, gunmen are "definitely better armed" than the police and the army, the aide said.
Bush administration officials have long expressed concern in private about delivering military equipment to Iraq because of uncertainty that it would be kept out of the hands of militiamen, common criminals and insurgents.
I wrote of this catch-22 back in November in a piece called Iraq: Why We Can't Win While We Are There. It's truly a circle jerk. We can't leave until they "stand up." They can't "stand up" without weapons. We can't provide them with the weapons while we're there.
Al-Maliki goes on to say that if his military is properly equipped, American forces could withdrawal significant troops within three to six months so you know the Bush administration isn't going to do that.