'One Sunni politician whose ties to Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party had barred him from holding office was appointed as one of three deputy prime ministers. The speaker of Parliament, a powerful position that drives the legislative agenda, is a Sunni. And Mr. Maliki, a religious Shiite, replaced the Shiite finance minister with a Sunni.
“This is a very good day for U.S. policy in Iraq,” Christopher R. Hill, a former American ambassador in Baghdad, said in a telephone interview. “Iraqis are not fond of giving Christmas presents, but I think they gave us one today.”
The relatively robust Sunni and Kurdish representation in the new government could help Mr. Maliki navigate one of the most immediate and vexing choices facing his new government: whether any of the 50,000 American troops now in Iraq will stay past a withdrawal deadline of December 2011.'