Monday, August 27, 2007

Joining the Parade in Iraq

I wrote that the Sunni Arab leadership might find that refusal to deal with the Shias and Kurds to arrange terms of surrender was being made a moot point by bottom-up deals between the US military and Sunni Arab insurgents to fight al Qaeda instead. Local Sunni Arab leaders might find themselves elevated in status and pushing aside the current leaders who won't lead.

So, is this development the result of Sunni Arab leaders realizing that they are running out of time to rush to the front of the parade and pose as the leaders of the parade (Tip to Instapundit)?

Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, and fellow leaders in the country have reached consensus on key areas of national reconciliation, under mounting US pressure to demonstrate political progress on the eve of a key report to Congress on the Baghdad security "surge".

The Shia prime minister appeared on television flanked by Jalal Talabani, the country's Kurdish president, and the Sunni vice-president, Tareq al-Hashemi, to announce a deal on easing restrictions on former members of the Ba'ath party joining the civil service and military.

Easing de-Ba'athification laws passed after the 2003 US invasion has long been seen as a vital step if disenchanted Sunnis, who formed the backbone of Saddam Hussein's regime and, since its fall, of the insurgency, are to be persuaded to take part in Iraqi political life.

Agreement was also reported on holding provincial elections and releasing detainees held without charge across the country, two more of the "benchmarks" set by the Bush administration for political movement it hopes will stave off mounting congressional demands for a withdrawal from Iraq.

With al Qaeda on the receiving end of a Sunni Arab-Shia-Kurdish alliance, the Sunni-based insurgencies and terrorism will finally be defeated.

And in the face of this alliance, the remaining Iranian-supported Shia thugs will be outclassed and outnumbered. These Sadr thugs will be easily portrayed as foreign Persian puppets (as they are) and will further serve to unify Shia Arabs, Sunni Arabs, and Sunni Kurds inside a single Iraqi state.

Iraq will be less unitary than under Saddam, but it will be a stronger country nonetheless, based on shared interests. And a common enemy.

Despite the hard fighting still going on, there remains the real possibility that enemy resistance could collapse dramatically over a far shorter time span than appears likely at the moment.