Sunday, February 04, 2007

Political Solutions

I have heard a lot about the need for political solutions lately.  It's strange, as if the Iraqi government has not been working on political solutions.  Iraqis are becoming more polarized, they say, but I suppose that almost four years of bombings and mass murder have a polarizing effect.

Exactly what else is there to discuss?   What is there that the Iraqi government has not done in terms of national reconciliation?  So far, I have seen many efforts on the part of the Iraqi government and Shia clerics to reconcile with the Sunni insurgency:

Iraqis agree to share oil revenues with all provinces based on population

Iraqi PM Offers Amnesty For Peace

Shia pilgrims call for end to violence

Sistani calls for calm and unity

What else do insurgents want?

from the February 05, 2007 edition

tragic proportions: Abu Abdullah, right, is a Baghdad shop owner who lost two of his sons in this weekend's bombing that targeted a Shiite area of the city. At least 132 people were killed.

Iraq's Sunni-Shiite anguish grows

As sectarian violence continues, the US military cautions that results of its Baghdad troop 'surge' will take time.

By Dan Murphy | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

CAIRO - When National Intelligence Director John Negroponte briefed the Senate last week on Iraq, he cautioned lawmakers that the hope for stability there rests on quelling unabated sectarian violence.

That view was reflected in a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), parts of which were declassified Friday, that describes an Iraq Army and police bedeviled by the sectarian allegiances of their members. The report deemed it unlikely that these forces will move effectively against militias in the next 18 months – particularly against the Shiite groups with ties to Iraq's ruling parties.

Indeed, US military officials cautioned patience – despite the deployment of an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.

"[That] will not turn the security situation overnight," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said in Baghdad. "Iraqi forces suffer deficiencies in leadership and logistics. It will take more than two months to solve these problems."

The urgent need to address the strife that flows in Baghdad's streets as well as its political corridors was painfully evident in a devastating weekend attack.

The deadliest single suicide bombing since the war began hit a crowded Shiite market on Saturday, leaving at least 135 Iraqis dead.

Overall, the assessment from the NIE, a report from the US intelligence community, was bleak, especially in its evaluation of the ability of Iraqi security forces to get its arms around the burgeoning violence.

The violence is also leading to even greater polarization of Iraqi society, both among the man on the street and the country's political leaders, the report found.

Also, it underscored what experts and US government analysts have been saying for some time – that the solution to Iraq's problems rests on the creation of a national compact that will involve compromise for the country's Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. It noted that the trend is in the other direction."

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