Archive for Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunni bloc rejoins government

July 20, 2008


— Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political bloc returned to the government fold Saturday after calling off a nearly one-year boycott of the Shiite-dominated leadership - another critical stride toward healing sectarian rifts.

The return of the National Accordance Front does more than politically reunite some of Iraq's main centers of power.

It was seen as a significant advance toward reconciliation and efforts to cement security cooperation between Shiite-led forces and armed Sunni groups that rose up against al-Qaida in Iraq.

The United States has pressured Iraq's government to work toward settling the sectarian feuds, which brought daily bloodshed until recent months. The hope is that more parties staked in the future of Iraq could mean a quicker exit for U.S. and other foreign forces.

The break in the Iraqi political impasse came after parliament unanimously backed Sunni candidates to fill the post of deputy prime minister and head five midlevel ministries, including higher education and communications. Four other Cabinet posts were filled by Shiites.

The Front pulled its members from the 39-member Cabinet last August, complaining it was sidelined in important decisions. The political rift left al-Maliki's government without partners in bids to find common ground with Sunni leaders.

Sunni Arabs, who represent about 20 percent of the country, were highly favored under Saddam Hussein but the tables turned after his ouster when Iraq's majority Shiites held sway. The rivalries spilled over into a wave of sectarian killings and al-Qaida bombings apparently aimed at triggering civil war.

Iraq's sharply improved security situation is already bringing plans for a pared-down British force.

On a visit to Baghdad, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said plans are being made to scale back troops in Iraq, but refused to consider an "artificial timetable" for withdrawing Britain's remaining 4,000 soldiers.

No specific troop withdrawal figures have been made public, but a senior British military officer has predicted substantial troop cuts in Iraq next year.

"It is certainly our intention that we reduce troop numbers, but I am not going to give an artificial timetable at the moment," Brown said following talks with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani.

Although Britain maintains the second-largest foreign military force in Iraq, it is dwarfed by the approximately 150,000 U.S. soldiers currently in the country.


jmadison 9 years, 9 months ago

This can't be true. Sen Harry Reid said the war was lost over a year ago.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

It's either right, or it's wrong, cato. If you perfer to dig up the results of a poll from Fox, go for it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

"We see it in the presidential poll numbers. Obama and McCain are virtually dead even"I think the latest poll has Obama up by 8 points."bozo had his daily bowl of snarky flakes today."You asked for my comment, and I gave it to you. Just because my take on Iraq doesn't agree with your saccharin version doesn't make it "snarky." That's the word on my street, anyway.

Scott Drummond 9 years, 9 months ago

"the gap is rapidly narrowing. We see it in the presidential poll numbers. Obama and McCain are virtually dead even:"Such national "horserace" polls are meaningless and serve no purpose other than allowing the corporate-owned media to attempt to influence future public opinion. The corporate media tends to like close races, for some reason, so you can count on them to do all they can to narrow any race. If you wish to see a more accurate view of the current state of the Presidential and Congressional races, check out: daily, the site reports current polling shows the following result:Obama 312McCain 199Tied 27Note: Obama is currently pulling down virtually certain electoral votes totals of 211 (nearly the 270 needed) vs. McCain's 86 virtually certain electoral votes. The Senate is not any more appealing for the repugs:Dems 57Repub 43My guess is the opinion of Congress, so oft discussed recently, will do some rising when such significant margins allow progress and Congressional accomplishment.House:Dems 239Repub 196Ouch!So, you repugs had better bring out the dirty tricks. You are gonna need them, although even that is not going to make Johnnie boy appealing to your tired, old, kook base voters

Scott Drummond 9 years, 9 months ago

Cato:I believe that is a banner ad that you are referring to. The site is run by an individual and if you'd spent even 5 minutes looking it over you'd see the guy's methodology is scrupulously fair.But if you do not like it, take a look at this site by a repug and with essentially the same result. Obama 311McCain 227Senate;D 54R 44House:D 243R 192Decide which site you want to look at, my point remains, nothing even remotely similar to the "story" being proffered by the corporate media and their horserace, "hey look everyone, it's neck and neck" polls.

cato_the_elder 9 years, 9 months ago

Bozo, I don't give much credence to polls of any kind. I would, however, offer that if all the polls are averaged, for reasons we both know Senator Obama would have been expected to be way ahead at the present time, and he's not. I would refer you to my last post under yesterday's partisan headline, "McCain muddles economic message," in which I again submit that Senator Clinton would have been a much more electable candidate for the Dems. Based on your previous posts, however, especially after the Senate's FISA vote, I believe that you said that you were voting for Mr. Nader, so your interest in this at the present time may be minimal.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

Taken as nothing more than a snapshot-- which is really all any of the much-hyped "improvement" in Iraq is, this appears to be a good thing.But the fact remains that the Sunnis have been in and out of the government since it was formed, and the conflict between the various factions and ethnic groups is hardly resolved-- why else would 20% of the population of Iraq still be living as internally and externally displaced refugees, with no prospects for their return to their former homes?Sorry for bringing a little reality to your endless cheerleading.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

Again, cato, if you have other data to present, from an organization that reflects your bias, knock yourself out.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 9 months ago

bozo must be sleeping in this morning.....

Flap Doodle 9 years, 9 months ago

bozo had his daily bowl of snarky flakes today.

cato_the_elder 9 years, 9 months ago

The poll you cited, Bozo, was conducted by the Washington Post. Surely you can do better than that, snarky flakes or not.

cato_the_elder 9 years, 9 months ago

Nice try, Scott. The poll you cite was conducted by an organization known as "Democrats Abroad," an official organization of the Democrat Party which encourages American expatriates to vote for Democrats. This is exactly the kind of BS that leftists cite all the time on this site. By the way, Scott, are you another poster here who chooses to live abroad instead of in the United States? Just curious.

Scott Drummond 9 years, 9 months ago

Nice dodge, Cato, but I think an electoral advantage of 311 to approx. 200 is a pretty substantial lead. If you care to look in any depth it is also very apparent that Obama starts with an enormous advantage of 200+/- virtually certain electoral votes. All he has to do is win three or four of the eight closely contested states and he's in. McCain has a much, much steeper hill to climb. Much can change, of course, and we are all expecting the sort of disgusting cheap shots the repugs have used in the last several elections, but the fact remains it is not at all accurate to say that the race is close (as Nancy did) or to deny that Obama has, at present, a significant lead.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

"for reasons we both know Senator Obama would have been expected to be way ahead at the present time, and he's not."I really don't know which reasons you are referring to.As far as who I vote for, it's likely irrelevant. If Obama is actually in contention to win Kansas, that'll mean that he's on track to win in a nationwide landslide, anyway, regardless of how Kansas goes.If he's not in contention, then it still doesn't matter whether I vote for him or not.So, yes, I'll likely vote for Nader again, as a protest of the stupidity of the electoral-college system, if nothing else.

cato_the_elder 9 years, 9 months ago

No dodge, Scott. The only point I raised was that you had cited a poll that has no credibility. I have no idea whether the other one you cited has any credibility either, nor do I care. I will, however, continue to contend that Senator Clinton would be a much more electable candidate, and the comments I have heard and read from many sources make it clear that a number of influential Dems are not happy with where the Obama campaign is right now compared to where it ought to be. However, since a number of them are still quietly supporting Senator Clinton, that should be taken into account also.

cato_the_elder 9 years, 9 months ago

Bozo, back to the subject news story, I would also commend to you another J-W article today, entitled "General: al-Qaida Shifting Focus," for your continued edification, enjoyment, and enlightenment.

uncleandyt 9 years, 9 months ago

Hooray, success - Fresh puppetsThe bribery phase of negotiations may soon be a thing of the past. Not today though. Let's shift our focus.

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