Sunday, January 22, 2006

"Iraq . . . is born a little and dies a little every day"

Great overview of the political situation in Iraq in the New York Times today:

Iraq, which is born a little and dies a little every day, defies all rules. Almost three years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and after the largest injection of reconstruction funds since the Marshall Plan, it finds itself at a second zero hour: its first four-year government about to be formed, its constitutional framework in place, its army being born, and, not least, its American benefactor losing patience by the minute.

In effect, a race against the clock has now begun. Iraq must convince a skeptical Congress that it's moving in the right direction, or mounting pressure to cut troops and money will grow further. With America's presence standing between the country and all-out civil war, those developments could be devastating. This is one reason a national unity government has assumed such importance: it would be a tangible sign of headway in the Iraqi morass.

One person playing a key role in forming that national unity government is U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, whom the article describes pretty positively. There was an interesting profile of him in the New Yorker last month.

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