Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Political Progress in Iraq?

This weekend brought about several underreported stories of political progress in Iraq. Any story of political progress in Iraq should always be met with a healthy dose of skepticism and caution, however that is no excuse for the blogosphere being the only outlet for them. While the MSM media had a literal orgy with the GAO report, there was little mention of potential political breakthroughs on several fronts.

Of course, I have already pointed out that this GAO report may in fact be bunk.

there's nothing striking about them. TheDemocratic Congress ensured that
the report would deliver negative "grades" forthe Iraqi government by asking the
GAO to evaluate whether or not the benchmarkshave been met now--just two months
after the major combat operations of thesurge began. For the report from the
White House, Congress asked theadministration to detail if the Iraqis are making
"sufficient progress." ButCongress asked the GAO, by contrast, to report if the
Iraqis had "completed" thebenchmarks. This ridiculous standard was a
Congressional trap that forced theGAO to waste time and taxpayer money to come
out with a pre-ordained andmeaningless judgment, since no one ever promised or
expected that the Iraqiswould have met the benchmarks by now. And the GAO report
doesn't really shedlight on the key question: Are the Iraqis making

This GAO report has captured the spotlight either way since the Washington Post initially leaked it. What hasn't garnered much attention though is reports of political progress in Iraq. This is the same political progress that most Democrats now say is impossible.

I had to go here to find this story

Representatives from Iraq's Sunni and Shia groups attending secret talks in
Finland have agreed a set of principles aimed at ending sectarian violence.
Politicians from Northern Ireland and South Africa also attended the four-day
meeting, to share their experiences of bringing divided communities together.

The Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, was one of the
chairmen of the talks. The event was organised by a conflict prevention group
based in Finland. The group, Crisis
Management Initiative
, released a statement late on Monday, saying the
participants had "committed themselves to work towards a robust framework for a
lasting settlement".

As a result of this meeting in Finland, this was published, a 33 page agreement among the major factions for national reconciliation and a cessation of violence. Isn't this the political progress everyone was hoping for...

Then there is this

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
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…
Iraqi officials
said the five leaders had agreed on draft legislation that would ease curbs on
former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party joining the civil service and
Consensus was also reached on a law governing provincial powers as
well as setting up a mechanism to release some detainees held without charge, a
key demand of Sunni Arabs since the majority being held are Sunnis.

This could be huge, but it got no traction in the MSM. Why is that...

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