Sunday, January 27, 2008

Iraq Round Up and the Road Ahead

You may recall reading in my previous post the following quotation:
"The war is not over, nor have the Iraqi government's steps toward sectarian reconciliation between Shia and Sunnis amounted to much."
Well, maybe not for long.

Iraq calls for rolling elections

"Iraq's deputy prime minister said Thursday that he favors a series of "rolling" local elections as part of a crucial push to bring power to the nation's provinces, and that the first votes are likely to begin soon.

Barham Saleh said the idea was part of the Provincial Powers Act, which must be ratified by Iraq's parliament, and that passage of the legislation was vital. The bill is among key pieces of legislation that are aimed at reconciling Iraq's rival ethnic and sectarian communities but which have been stalled for months.

Saleh said a draft of the legislation "involves devolving power from the central (government) to the provinces, which is crucial for local democracy."

Devolving power to the local level is something prodemocracy Iraq watchers have been advocating for months. It looks like it's closer than we thought.

Saleh did not give any details on where or exactly when such votes would begin, but he singled out Sunni areas as being of particular concern. Saleh said the security situation in the areas during the last vote prevented the majority of the population from taking part, and it was important to make those populations feel they were back in the system.


A rolling vote would enable the government to hold elections in provinces that are relatively stable, and defer voting in such hotspots as Diyala that are still quite violent.

Though Saleh did not specifically mention Shiite areas, a rolling vote would also allow new elections in Shiite areas where the political landscape has changed dramatically since local administrations were elected three years ago."

Add to that this statement by PM Maliki, and the picture seems even brighter:

Iraq Political Reconciliation has become a fait accompli

This all bodes well for the future. Reconcilliation between Sunnis and Shia would be a major accomplishment. It also adds to the growing body of evidence that sectarian violence is pretty much finished, extremists at either end of the Sunni-Shia divide have been isolated and are nearly a spent force. Moreover, Sunnis are now prepared to participate in the political process, whereas before they chose the boycott and insurgency route.

Petreaus not leaving.

Then there were calls a few days ago to see Petreaus given the top job at NATO. As much as I believe that would have been great, I also think that it's good that he will not be leaving Iraq. Iraq is far from on its feet and there is still work to do in faciliting security and crushing the last elements of as Qaeda and Ba'athist holdouts and with a booming economy, there should be a relatively smoother road ahead.

Iraqi oil exports increase 9.2% in 2007.
"Iraq's revenues from crude oil sales in 2007 reached $39.8 billion, or 31% more than in 2006, the statement said. Iraq sold its crude oil at prices ranging between $48 and $83 a barrel in 2007..."

It's been a long hard road, but the encouraging signs from Iraq just keep on coming. Keep going, Iraq. Keep going!!

And finally, on the wider picture, I gotta say that I agree 100% with this article posted by Bashman at Pat Dollard's blog. (h/t Valerie at ITM) It is more than just the most important artcle that Bash has ever posted, it is a near perfect description of why this multi-generational war against Islamofascism and Arab Nationalist dictatorships must continue until it is won. And yes, it is about the oil, but not in the way the simpletons on the left would believe. READ IT!

PS: While you're at it, have a glance at CMARII's takedown of the Lancet study farce. Good job, CMARII!!


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