Thursday, February 14, 2008

Political reconciliation in Iraq

“Using old-fashioned behind-the-scenes politicking, Iraq’s Parliamentary leaders pushed through three divisive laws that had been delayed for months by bitter maneuvering between factions and, recently, threats to dissolve the legislative body. More than any legislation approved so far, the three measures have the potential to spur reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites and set the country on the road to a more representative government…"

"Supporters of the American troop increase in 2007 touted it as a way to stabilize the country, bringing Iraqi politicians the political space they needed to pass legislation that could pave the way for reconciliation between the sects. For months it appeared that little was moving on the political front, but now it seems that the decline in violence did contribute to a change in the atmosphere.”

- New York Times, Feb 13, 2008

"At this point in the Democratic primary season, even a a delaration of surrenderby Qaeda in Iraq would probably be treated as further evidence of Bush Administration incompetence."

- The Wall Street Journal Feb 14, 2004

I would add the link to the New York Times quote but the editors have evidently slipped these two paragrahgs down the memory hole, a la 1984. Google remembers that they were there, and if you search any of the phrases in the quote Google will point you to an article on the achievement of the Iraqi parliament, but those two paragraphs are now conspicuously absent.

Oh, well, I guess that good news about Iraq is not "fit to print" in the nations's newspaper of record.

Regardless of the news coverage, this was a big deal. The Iraqis passed a budget for 2008, approved an important law on provincial government and authorized amnesty of thousands of Sunnis held in detention. They actually figured out how to compromise. They're learning.

The Continental Congress of the American colonies adopted out orginal governing document in 1777 after a year of debate. The Articles of Confederation, however, were not finally ratified by all the states until 1781. The Articles proved unworkable so we through the mess out and adopted out current Constitution on 1788. This performance was by a group of gentlemen who were very familiar with the theory and practice of democratic government.

I believe that the Iraqis are closely observing the American Presidential contest. I would expect more compromises out of the Iraqis as the year progresses and the Presidential race heats up.