Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Iraq’s Unity Government– Fraying or Surging?

Posted by K.E. White on November 29, 2006

The blogosphere and general media is abuzz with news of a boycott by a powerful Shiite group—led by Moqtada al-Sadr—in Iraq’s governing coalition. And yesterday Iraq’s President Jalal Talibani went to Iran to meet with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad .

Alex, over at Martini Republic, writes:

“An already weak and ineffective Iraqi government led by Nouri al Maliki loses the backing of a powerful faction of lawmakers…”

Yet he fails to mention an important aspect of the boycott, found in WaPo’s coverage:

But Rubaie cautioned that their action did not mean the officials were pulling out of the government [emphasis added], which would all but guarantee the collapse of Iraq’s unity government.

“The suspension does not mean our withdrawal from the political process,” said Rubaie. He added the Sadr bloc would meet in coming days to discuss how long members would remain out of the government.

To hit up Bush for meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is a tad unfair. I doubt Bush pushed this meeting because he thinks such an action “imbues them [Iraqi officials] with domestic legitimacy.”

In fact, I think he made the right calculation: knowing that Sadr wouldn’t risk being blamed for worsening Iraq’s already dire civil crisis. And maybe such independence by Prime Minister al-Maliki, dovetailed with what appears a very successful visit to Iran by Iraq’s President, is the right diplomatic path for the embattled Iraqi regime to take.

This observation shouldn’t be mistaken for a blanket endorsement of the Iraqi regime or Bush’s Iraq policy. But it does point to a regrettable truth: something positive has to happen in Iraq to improve the situation. And just maybe this boycott is necessary if there be any hope for a stable national Iraqi government of any type or strength– seemingly the only way to avoid a Yugoslavia-like breakdown.

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