A Glimmer of Hope in Iraq

The New York Times reports this afternoon that the mother of all political deals may be coming together in Baghdad, one that would bring Iraq's largest Sunni political bloc back into the Shiite-led government.This is potentially huge news. If this grand bargain goes through (and there is some reason for worry), it would represent a substantial step toward rapprochement between the Sunnis and the Maliki government and toward the formation of a viable, lasting national government. It could also boost the prospects for provincial elections in the fall.

According to the Times:

The Sunni leaders said they were still working out the details of their return, an indication that the deal could still fall through. But such a return would represent a major political victory for Mr. Maliki in the midst of a military operation that has at times been criticized as poorly planned and fraught with risk. The principal group his security forces have been confronting is the Mahdi Army, a powerful militia led by Moktada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric. Even though Mr. Maliki's American-backed offensive against elements of the Mahdi Army has frequently stalled and has led to bitter complaints of civilian casualties, the Sunni leaders said that the government had done enough to address their concerns that they had decided to end their boycott.

"Our conditions were very clear, and the government achieved some of them," said Adnan al-Duleimi, the head of Tawafiq, the largest Sunni bloc in the government. Mr. Duleimi said the achievements included "the general amnesty, chasing down the militias and disbanding them and curbing the outlaws."

By Phillip Carter |  April 24, 2008; 5:20 PM ET  | Category:  Iraq
Previous: Army Musical Chairs | Next: Dissent in the Army

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



"this grand bargain goes through (and there is some reason for worry), it would represent a substantial step toward rapprochement between the Sunnis and the Maliki government and toward the formation of a viable, lasting national government"

Not necessarily, Phil. The problem is that the political Sunni caste is divided from the nascent "Awakening" bloc, the ground-up traditional ruling class that's been helped by MNF-I.

There's some concern that the Sunni politicans in the Green Zone don't exactly speak to the reality on the ground in their former stomping grounds. We'll know more after two elections over the next 18 months, but one really wonders about how relevant the chatting circle of Sunni Arabs in Baghdad really is.

That said, would the "Awakening" politicos share in the general belief that the power of Moqtada al-Sadr's militias (plural) and Iranian influence over ALL the Shi'i parties/militias be curbed?

Yes.

Posted by: Carl P | April 25, 2008 10:30 AM

Carl P:

"There's some concern that the Sunni politicans in the Green Zone don't exactly speak to the reality on the ground in their former stomping grounds."

I can see that being the case in our transient US society (I mean, how did Illinois-raised, Wellesley and Yale educated, Arkansas then DC First Lady Hillary Clinton become my Senator in NY? I'm still not exactly clear). But, doesn't the well-publicized and oft-lamented sectarian nature of Iraqi society imply that the Sunni pols should be connected to their constituencies?

Posted by: Eric Chen | April 26, 2008 3:27 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company