Underreported Breakthrough in Iraq

The AFP News Agency reports that Iraq’s main Sunni Arab parliamentary bloc will rejoin the government led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

This is a significant event because the Sunni Arabs have boycotted the parliament for a year, in protest what they saw as lack of sufficient reconcialiation efforts by the Shiite dominated government.

Quoting from the AFP (via Yahoo)

Saleem Abdallah, MP and spokesman of the National Concord Front, said his group had given a list of new candidates for five of the six ministerial posts which it previously held in Maliki’s cabinet.

“The prime minister has accepted the names of the candidates,” Abdallah told AFP.

Last August the Sunni bloc, which has 44 MPs in the 275-member parliament, pulled its ministers from the cabinet in protest at what it viewed as the monopolisation of power by the other factions in government — the Shiites and Kurds

The boycott by the Sunnis a year ago had undermined al-Maliki’s efforts to form a unity government, giving Barack Obama and the anti-Iraq Democrats a pretext for claiming Iraq was in a hopeless “civil war” and that political leaders were unwilling to compromise and resolve their differences.

Until just a few days ago, Barack Obama’s web site justified his “plan” to pull all combat troops out of Iraq on a predetermined schedule, without regard for the consequences by claiming that…

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Iraq’s political leaders have made no progress in resolving the political differences at the heart of their civil war.

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Apparently in preparation for his photo-shoot tour of the region, which began today, the Obama campaign purged the “civil war” language from his website on Monday. But he still claims there has been an “absence of genuine political accommodation” in Iraq’s government.

In March the Iraqi government began a major military operation against Shiite Militias, with al-Maliki personally in command. Defeating these militias was a major Sunni demand because Militiamen had kidnapped and/or killed hundreds of Sunnis. After only 24 hours, the Anti-Iraq Democrats and the media dismissed the campaign against the militias as a disaster and failure. Recently, the media have had to grudgingly acknowledge success. The militias have been largely defeated, and the crackdown continues.

The Obamania Summer Vanity Tour and Photo-shoot is performing for media groupies in Afghanistan today. In a few days the pageant travels to the next photo-stop, picturesque Baghdad. Will Senator Obama acknowledge Sunni reconciliation as a major development, signaling settlement of political differences? Or, will he look the other way and continue to claim Iraq’s leaders are hopelessly divided?

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