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March 19, 2008



"Unfortunately, the Sunni Accordance Front and Iyad Allawi's Iraqi Bloc boycotted, and the Sadrists walked out. All stated, rather forcefully, that they did not see the political process as a success or national reconciliation as achieved. Maliki responded that this draws the line between "friends and enemies", drawing no distinction between his government and Iraq itself. Several leaders of the Anbar Salvation Council did attend, including Ali Hatem and Hamed al-Hayess (suggesting that the arrest warrant on them won't be served any time soon). But Hatem wasn't impressed: "I didn't stay any longer than it took me to smoke my cigarette. It was a total failure, because the Iraqi politicians are a failure." This must be the bottom-up reconciliation I keep hearing about."

It's increasingly bizarre to see every incident of Iraqi politicians being free to act politically seized upon as an excuse to deride the Iraqi democratic process? Honestly.

What would the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt give to obtain the political freedoms available to and being acted upon by the Iraqis? Isn't that an issue worth discussing on the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war?


It strikes me that the Maliki government has no interest in achieving any reconciliation with the Sunnis, even if there's common ground to be found. If my suspicions are correct -- that members of the government are personally pocketing a portion of the $3 billion/week we are spending in Iraq -- reconciliation only makes US disengagement more likely, and ends their gravy train.


It looked to me yesterday, from Arabic comments and news coverage of various sides, that the fighting had reached an impasse. You are right in that the government miscalculated (underestimated) the Sadrista power in the south and in parts of Baghdad. I would have assumed US officials in Baghdad would have tried to lift any delusions the ruling coalition had about relative strengths on the ground. But maybe they did not know either, which does not bode well for the rest of this year. The worst part is that the Bush administration also miscalculated the outcome. Unless this was just a probing sortie or a trial ballon of some kind.
Speaking of delusions: interesting the comments by two GOP senators on CNN yesterday (Graham- SC, Martinez- Fla) that 'we can't let militias operate outside of government authority'. I had not realized that the various Awakening Councils, Sons of Iraq, et al were under government authority now. Cheers

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