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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Military Progress Allows Room for Political Progress in Iraq

I don't know how many times I have seen it said and said myself that the surge that is seeing such progress as has been stated by every politician that has just returned from Iraq, was meant to give the Iraqi politicians the breathing room to reconcile and make headway.

Despite criticism far and wide about the Iraqi Parliament going on vacation, we said that they would be working behind the scenes as was evidenced by al-Maliki courting the Sunni's last week.

Hat Tip to Captain's Quarters and memeorandum, we see that Iraq's top Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political leaders have reached consensus on some key measures.

The agreement by the five leaders was one of the most significant political developments in Iraq for months and was quickly welcomed by the United States, which hopes such moves will ease sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands.

But skeptics will be watching for action amid growing frustration in Washington over the political paralysis that has gripped the government of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore congratulated Iraq's leaders on the accord, hailing it in a statement as "an important symbol of their commitment to work together for the benefit of all Iraqis."

The apparent breakthrough comes two weeks before U.S. President George W. Bush's top officials in Iraq present a report that could have a major influence on future American policy in Iraq.

"I hope that this agreement will help Iraq move beyond the political impasse," Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih told Reuters. "The five leaders representing Iraq's major political communities .... affirmed the principle of collective leadership to help deal with the many challenges faced by Iraq."

Maliki's appearance on Iraqi television with the four other leaders at a brief news conference was a rare show of public unity.

I said earlier today the al-Maliki was right on target to criticize Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin's undiplomatic words about him.

In power less than a year he needed to learn and was working behind the scenes to make headway toward the benchmarks we have established.

Looks like it is Iraq itself that will provide the September surprise for Americans.

Now, to be clear here, the Iraq Parliament has to agree to this, but with the major players represented and in agreement, that shouldn't be a problem.

Hey Harry!! Hey Nancy!! Hey Hillary and Hey Levin!!

What say you that was always first and foremost to give up while our troops were breaking way for the politicians to come to an accord?

Needless to say, there is much work still to be done, many challenges ahead, Iran and al-Qaeda both will still be doing everything they can to disrupt this progress, but this is significant by anyones standards.

[UPDATE] 8/27/07- More on this from Wapo with a little more detail as to the agreement that was reached:

BAGHDAD, Aug. 26 -- Iraq's top five political leaders announced an agreement Sunday night to release thousands of prisoners being held without charge and to reform the law that has kept thousands of members of Saddam Hussein's political party out of government jobs.

The agreement was publicized after several days of meetings between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite; President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd; Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni; Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi, a Shiite; and Massoud Barzani, president of the semiautonomous Kurdish region.

The announcement clears the way for the fractious Iraqi government to ease restrictions on former Baath Party members, one of the political initiatives President Bush considers key to Iraq's success. The agreement, reached not quite two weeks before Bush is to receive a progress report on Iraq, could face a stiff battle in Iraq's divided parliament.

Also adding to strain ahead of the U.S. report, Maliki denounced U.S. military raids in Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and again lashed out at American critics, saying Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democrats who have called for his ouster should "come to their senses" and stop treating Iraq like "one of their villages."

Although details of the proposed revisions to the de-Baathification law were unclear late Sunday, advisers to the political leaders said the changes would allow former members of Hussein's party to hold civil service jobs unless they had been high-level leaders or were accused of committing a specific crime. The new law would replace Iraq's Supreme National Commission for De-Baathification with a new committee dedicated to prosecuting former party members accused of crimes.

[End Update]

(NOTE: Instead of leaving you with the advertisements I usually have at the bottom of each post, I will leave you with one of the videos from Freedoms Watch) [30 second video.]

Wounded Veteran:


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