Saturday, November 25, 2006

One Last Kiss

The upcoming meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki may be a defining break-point in the evolution of a new Iraq. Call it "One Last Kiss." Up until this meeting, The fledgling Iraqi government has been all too happy to cooperate with and even depend on the support of the U.S. government and military. But this may be the final convivial meeting between the two governments. As superficially friendly as the meeting may be, the tension will be there and all parties will be well aware of the simple fact that the U.S. and Iraq will likely never again meet on the same terms until Iraq is clearly standing on its own two feet, and that could take years. This is all a good thing. The U.S. has made all of the positive contributions to Iraq that are in our ability. Now it is Iraq's turn to stand up and run with the ball.

There actually appears to be intense opposition in Iraq to this meeting with Bush. In an article in the New York Times by Edward Wong entitled "Militants Attack SunnisÂ’ Mosques in 2 Iraqi Cities", we read that:

The vengeance attacks unfolded while lawmakers loyal to the virulently anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr threatened to boycott the government if Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki met with President Bush next week in Jordan. Mr. Sadr controls one of the biggest blocs of seats in Parliament, and on Friday he reiterated his claim that the American presence was the root cause of the rising violence in Iraq.

Mr. Sadr is not the only leader in Iraq opposed to the American occupation and influence over the Iraqi government, simply the loudest among many voices. Although American forces are certainly not the direct cause of the sectarian violence, the presence of American forces and the heavy hand of American influence over the Iraqi government is certainly a key root cause of dissension that ultimately percolates to the surface as sectatian violence. If not a cause, at least the U.S. presence is a trigger.

The good news is that once this final meeting with the U.S. is out of the way, more rapid progress at reconciliation can at least begin.

It is unclear whether Maliki will survive the political turmoil, but nonetheless this meeting will likely be the break-point transition.

December will likely be a watershed month in the evolution of the new Iraqi government.

-- Jack Krupansky


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