Day By Day

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Political Progress in Iraq

Jules Crittenden has a nice post on political progress in Iraq [here]. He cites reports from the AP to the effect that Sunni Arabs have reached a sharing deal with Kurds on oil revenues and that a deal has also been worked out allowing former insurgent groups to participate in the new Iraqi defense forces. I would also point out that last week, when I was offline, more than 600 Shiite leaders in Southern Iraq petitioned Iran demanding that they quit interfering in Iraqi affairs.

I would point out two things that seem to me to be of great importance. First: demands in Congress that a top-down political settlement is necessary are dangerously delusional. The Arab-Kurdish leaders pointed out the problem with such an approach when they remarked: “Last year, we felt that decisions were forced on us. That wasn’t power-sharing — we had no key representation even though we were sitting there.”

Second: The imagined Shiia-Iran alliance that so many anti-administration critics fear is not taking shape. Instead, Iraqi Shiia are repudiating Iranian influence and cutting deals with their Sunni counterparts.

The administration's policy of developing bottom-up arrangements and slowly merging these into a national consensus is working and in the long run is the only kind of political strategy that has a chance of working. Once again Bush is proving to be a lot wiser than his critics.