Monday, August 06, 2007

The Brookings Report on Iraq

The Brookings Institution Iraq Index for July 30, 2007 contains an update of the indicators measured since 2003. The overall summary, based on an examination of the trends is "On balance, Iraq at the end of July is showing significant signs of battlefield momentum in favor of U.S./coalition military forces, but there is nonetheless little good to report on the political front and only modest progress on the economic side of things." However the report itself is much more informative than its summary. The statistics collected by the Brookings Institution describe the shape of combat and politics in Iraq and give us a greater insight into why the the political front is struggling and what the connection is between combat operations and the political arena.

Of the 18 provinces in Iraq, 96.4 of all insurgent attacks take place in 8 of them, as shown in the table below (for purposes of administration, Baghdad is considered a province). Comparing the map of insurgent attacks with an ethnic map of Iraq makes it clear why the fighting is sometimes termed the "Sunni insurgency".

Province %
Baghdad 29.2
Al Anbar 23.6
Salah ad Din 14.9
Diyala 10.6
Ninawa 9
Al Tamim 3.9
Al Bashray 3.4
Babil 1.8



Not surprisingly, much of the burden of war has fallen on the Sunnis. Here is an extract from the Brookings Table detailing where refugees have gone. Again, it is the Sunni Arabs that have been fleeing westward to what they consider to be safer havens.

Iraqi Refugees in Syria 600,000 – 1 million
Iraqi Refugees in Jordan 700,000 – 750,000
Iraqi Refugees in Egypt, Lebanon, Iran 175,000 – 200,000

Predictably nearly all the Sunnis in a poll cited by the Brookings Institution are opposed to the Coalition presence in Iraq.

Strongly/Somewhat Approve of Coalition Presence Strongly/Somewhat Oppose of Coalition Presence
OVERALL 22% 78%
Shia 17% 83%
Sunni 3% 97%
Kurdish 75% 25%

But what's going on here? Much of the recent Surge, which the Brookings Report cites as being apparently successful, has taken place precisely in partnership with Sunni communities and/or former Sunni insurgents. How do we reconcile the apparent contradiction between the Sunni opposition to the American presence and their recent cooperation with Coalition forces in driving out al-Qaeda? The answer to this conundrum lies in the principle that the "enemy of my enemy is my friend"; when the same Sunnis are asked to rank their opposition to the US in relationship to the al-Qaeda and the Shi'ites, the Americans are apparently to be preferred. During World War 2 the French may have had no great fondness for the British and the Americans, but in a three way poll with the Nazis, the French categorically sided with the Allies. It is the ethnic conflict which makes the American presence in Iraq, while unwelcome, seem a necessary evil. By themselves the US might not be very popular with the Sunnis. But for keeping al-Qaeda killers and Shi'ite death squads away they very useful indeed.

Counterintuitively the majority of the Iraqis polled do not want to go their own separate ways but hold out hope for a single unitary or federated country. This is hardly what one would have expected to find in a country supposedly wracked by civil war. How can this persistent desire for some sort of political cooperation among ethnic communities which supposedly hate each other be explained?

Year Unified County Regional States Independent States Unified Plus Regional
2004 79% 14% 4% 93%
2005 70% 18% 9% 88%
2007 58% 28% 14% 86%

There are two probably reasons for this desire for unity. The first is that Iraq is potentially rich and nobody wants to deal himself out of a rich country; and the second is that compared to Iraq's neighbors it is comparatively free. For all the problems that followed the removal of Saddam many people remember what a despot he was. First to the rich part. According to the table on page 43 of the Brookings Report, Iraq's GDP has been growing steadily. There was a huge increase right after the fall of Saddam and still more amazingly, a 4.0% increase every year thereafter. Oil production, despite attacks on the producing and pipeline facilities, stand at 2.1 million barrels per day, down from the pre-war peak of 2.5 million bbl according to a table on page 37. But increased oil prices mean that in dollar terms Iraq is earning a considerable amount of money from its mineral resource. This provides a powerful incentive for reaching a political solution. Second, Iraq is comparatively free. In the Brookings Index of political freedom on page 34, Iraq rated higher than any other regional country except Israel, Lebanon and Morocco and much ahead of Jordan, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

The basic realities of the insurgency, ethnic competition and the Iraq wealth potential directly drive the outstanding issues facing the political parties. The political questions facing Iraq are really re-statements of the what is being contested in the field today. This table of page 15 of the report clearly shows that politicians in Baghdad are talking about power-sharing between the sectarian communities, in terms of oil and the relationship between the central government and local government. And the resolution of these issues probably hinges on the outcome of the Sunni insurgency and efforts by the Shi'ite militias to become a political force. How these armed groups fare will determine the relative power of the different ethnic parties in the field, and hence their influence in Baghdad.

Political Benchmark Current Status Potential Hurdles
Oil Revenue Sharing

February 2007: Draft law passed in the Cabinet but not yet voted on in Parliament May 2007: During the week of May 21, officials from the Kurdish Regional Government will arrive in Baghdad to discuss differences with central-government authorities.

Iraq Federation of Oil Unions has come out against the draft, as has the Iraqi National slate, led by former PM Ilyad al-Allawi

Reversing de-Baathification

March 2007: PM Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani sent a draft law to the Cabinet for debate May 2007: Iraqi VP Tariq al-Hashemi announced that proposals for revising the law would be submitted to parliament during the week of May 21. As of April 1, 2007, Falah Hassan, who heads the parliament's de- Baathification Committee, reported that his panel had not been given a copy of the draft law. In addition, prominent Shiite leaders, led by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have come out against the draft law
New election laws No progress thus far  
Schedule provincial elections July 2007: PM Nouri al-Maliki stated publicly that provincial elections would be held by the end of calendar year 2007.  
Disbanding militias No political progress thus far, although Coalition and Iraqi security forces have engaged and detained militia members  
Plan of national reconciliation No progress thus far  
Amending the Constitution to address Sunni concerns The parliament’s constitutional reform committee voted on May 15, 2007, to submit a set of revisions to lawmakers the week of May 21. However, the controversial issues of the rights of provinces to form powerful regions (similar to that of the Kurds) and references to Iraq’s Arab identity are yet to be debated.  
Increased Sunni governmental participation A group of Sunni sheiks in Anbar province that recently formed a loose confederation of tribes opposed to Al-Qaeda in Iraq have announced that they will form a political party, called Iraq Awakening, that will partake in future elections  

Thus events in the field and politics in Baghdad are linked. Obviously, the US should attempt to alter conditions on the battlefield and the diplomatic attitudes of Iraq's neighbors to make these issues "break" in a desired way. I will not discuss diplomacy here. But in my guess the Surge was intended to achieve four political effects: 1) weaken the Sunni insurgency; 2) wrest the leadership of the insurgency from doctrinaire al-Qaeda to local chieftains who might be more pragmatic. One of the very subtle effects of turning the Sunnis against al-Qaeda has been to co-opt the Sunni fighters into the American fold; 3) weaken the Shi'ite militias; and 4) create political structures in the provinces which would be more susceptible to direct American influence than politicians in Baghdad. Despite its military successes, the Surge has yet to bear obvious political fruit. Perhaps a period must elapse before politicians in Baghdad come to terms with a changed reality. Time will tell whether the Surge has changed things enough or ever will.

Yet even if the Surge fails to deliver the ultimate goods, the political benchmarks laid out by the Brookings report are a useful way of assessing the wisdom of any proposed action before Congress today. Every proposal, such as a rapid withdrawal should be weighed against the effect it might have in achieving a goal such as disbanding of militias. It should be judged against the criteria of whether it will create an incentive for the Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'a to enter into a workable oil revenue sharing scheme or national reconciliation program. Whether it will encourage the diminished Sunnis to participate a future Iraq.

Carl von Clausewitz's dictum that "war is the continuation of politics" is an incomplete thought. Politics is also a continuation of war. Political settlements in particular are the culmination of war.  The Brookings Report's summary that "on balance, Iraq at the end of July is showing significant signs of battlefield momentum in favor of U.S./coalition military forces, but there is nonetheless little good to report on the political front and only modest progress on the economic side of things," must mean that while the Surge and possible US diplomacy have had some effect, they have not yet reached the point where they can effect a desired political outcome. The question policymakers face is where do they go from here.


Blogger Kevin said...

Good post Wretchard.

The US faces several major political problems in Iraq. The first being an incoherence between US goals on a regional level (a Cold War style conflict with Iran and her allies) and US goals in Iraq (democracy which will inevitable empower pro-Iranian forces in Iraq). In order to deal with this apparent incoherence the US has helped install a nominally secular Shiite dominated government.

There are three main forces working against this government, first and most important are the Sunni insurgents (both Baathist and Islamist) who are working towards re-establishing Sunni hegemony in Iraq with broad support from the Sunni Iraqi people. Second is Sadr’s Hezbollah-style bottom-up grassroots political organization that is not only involved in paramilitary operations but is also destabilizing the government by producing social services and security the government is unable to provide. A third but lesser problem are Kurdish aspirations for independence.

At the end of the day, the Sunni problem is the largest. They represent the former ruling class who possess almost a racist-like disgust for their riff-raff Shia brethren. There is only one event that will deter them from trying to regain total power in Iraq and that is a resounding military defeat.

The Sunnis are well-aware of the US policy contradictions between the regional and national levels. They know that the ideal US solution from a regional perspective is a media-friendly Sunni dictator that is allied to the Jordan – Egyptian – PLO –Lebanese government coalition of pro-Western Arabs. They are also aware that in order to provide some moral coherence to the war in Iraq the US has been exaggerating the Al Qaida presence in Iraq. The Sunnis have cleverly “turned” on Al Qaida in return for billions of dollars of arms from the US. The result is a hardening of the Sunni will to one day retake Iraq and a weakening of the central government in Iraq.

The surge has not touched Sadr and his group are continuing their bottom-up political work. Whether they will reach Hezbollah-levels of competence and military ability is still up in the air though In any case they are by far the largest political entity in Iraq and represent nationalist Iraqi aspirations.

The Kurds for some reason seem to be provoking Turkey into launching an invasion., perhaps hoping either the US will either stop them or that they can defeat the invading Turkish Army in a similar fashion to what Hezbollah did to Israel last summer.

In any case the surge has done nothing to help the current Iraqi government. In light of their new alliance with the US, the Sunnis are more united than ever to one day retake Iraq. Sadr is building the political foundations of an eventual rule over Iraq. The Kurds are provoking Turkey. The current Iraqi government will fall before the end of the year and then perhaps a new political route will open for the US -- I don’t know.

8/06/2007 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...


Nice follow up to Wretchard's excellent (as usual) post. I rarely agree with you, and don't necessarily agree with your analysis here, either, but your comment was well-thought, well-stated and enjoyable to read. (HT)

8/06/2007 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Valentine Smith said...

It appears to me that everyone ignores a rather potent wild card in all analyses of Iraq—their military. What would be the effects of "successful" operations against the Suuni insurgency first and subsequent operations against the Shia militias. Is the US simply attempting to make the Iraqi army into an effective fighting force, or might there not be a parallel "shaping" of the Officer and NCO corps "mind" to instill secular mission(ary) zeal to offset the religious insanity? I don't think the Iraqi military should be dismissed out of hand as incompetent and riven with factions—not after years of contact with the US military. Bonds forged in battle can withstand a huge amount of pressure. In Vietnam the South Vietnamese Army was ridiculed for years, but when push came to shove they kicked some ass until their total abandonment.

Sure this is a pipedream, but I just don't understand why no one factors the Iraqi military into the seemingly hundreds of scenarios of what the future of Iraq will be.

8/06/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

"The surge has not touched Sadr and his group are continuing their bottom-up political work."

Yes, it has. There have been numerous reports about the recent actions taken against Sadr's followers.

"In any case the surge has done nothing to help the current Iraqi government."

The increasingly secure environment also clearly benefits the government. Whether it takes advantage of that remains to be seen, but to say that the surge does nothing for the current government is clearly wrong.

8/06/2007 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...


Many thanks. And as you pointed out, it is much easier to respond when the original posts are as thought provoking as Wrethchard's are.


One reason for not taking hte Iraqi Army seriously as a political force is the very training they are getting from the US, which frowns upon direct mixture of the military and the political.

8/06/2007 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


Yes you are correct there have been some minor engagements with Sadr’s military forces but he withdrew most of his senior commanders early in the surge. So there has been a reduction in the sectarian violence. But Sadr has more than made up for this by concentrating on the political. He was never very effective militarily anyway; his crews were nothing more than death squads preying on defenceless civilians. But by turning to the political he is achieving much more than he ever could have through violence. By providing basic social services and some security he is winning followers where before he was turning many people off with his mindlesskilling. So yes violence in Baghdad is down slightly but this is because Sadr is switching to the political arena but violence is not down enough to prevent the current Iraqi government from teetering on the edge. So the slight military hit Sadr has taken is no where near enough to compensate for his political advances not the mention that he does still retain an "insurgency in being" potential to place into action if the Maliki government falls and the new one is not to his liking.

The increasingly secure environment that the surge has achieved is for the most part in the Sunni areas. But as a result they feel confident enough to stop playing parliament and have pulled out their representatives out of Baghdad. So where the surge has actually achieved better security the political environment for the central government has declined.

8/06/2007 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

These Men Are Marines
- Steve Schippert
(USMC Ret)

8/06/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

UPDATE: Iraq's national electricity grid nearing collapse; cities short of water...

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's electricity grid could collapse any day because of insurgent sabotage, rising demand, fuel shortages and provincial officials who are unplugging local power stations from the national system, electricity officials said on Saturday.
Decentralization of the system should have been a central goal:
Given the amount of money spent, everyone could have been given and independent solar system!
Vast improvement over noisy, smelly, dangerous gas generators, and the folks that could afford that could chip in for an upgrade on the basic photovoltaic set-up.

8/06/2007 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Stalemates in Washington and Baghdad

For some time Westhawk has believed that Iraq’s top Shi’ite political leaders want political reconciliation to fail and want this failure to be a reason for the U.S. to withdraw its forces from Iraq. The Shi’ites believe that they will then benefit from an unconstrained battlefield and their numerical superiority.

They are very likely to get their wish. There is no chance of political progress in Iraq during the next few months. And when Iraq’s politicians go on a long holiday during the middle of the crisis, the U.S. Congress will no longer be able to support the current policy.

If not the current U.S. strategy, then what? Over a five year horizon, U.S. policymakers will find a “balance of power” approach to Iraq appealing. The U.S. government will want assure its Sunni allies in the region that it is not letting Iran and the Shi’ites run wild. On the other hand, the U.S. won’t want to turn over Iraq’s Shi’ite nation to Iran. And maintaining contacts with both Sunni and Shi’ite groups is the best guarantee of suppressing al Qaeda. The U.S. can thus exploit its current success, the contacts and relationships it has established on a local level, to maintain a low-level advisory and support effort with all of Iraq’s tribes and groupings. This will allow the U.S. to maintain policy flexibility and freedom of action, at a much lower level of commitment and cost.

Iraq’s government won’t like this approach. But it doesn’t like the current strategy either.

8/06/2007 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Saudi jihadists now make up half the foreign fighters in Iraq
Saudi double game update.
“Saudis’ role in Iraq insurgency outlined,” by Ned Parker for the Los Angeles Times(thanks to Hot Air):

8/06/2007 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mistrust as Iraqi Troops Encounter New U.S. Allies
Mistrust as Iraqi Troops Encounter New U.S. Allies

As U.S. troops build alliances with Sunni ex-insurgents, mutual mistrust exists with Shiite Iraqi Army soldiers.

The gulf between Abu Azzam’s men and the Iraqi soldiers remains vast, with American troops sometimes having to physically intercede.

Recently, and without warning, Colonel Pinkerton said, 80 Iraqi soldiers in armored vehicles charged out of their sector toward Nasr Wa Salam but were blocked by an American platoon.
The Iraqis refused to say where they were going and threatened to drive right through the American soldiers, whom they greatly outnumbered.

Eventually, with Apache helicopter gunships circling overhead and American gunners aiming their weapons at them, the Iraqi soldiers retreated. “It hasn’t come to firing bullets yet,” Colonel Pinkerton said.

Colonel Pinkerton’s experiences here, he said, have inverted the usual American instincts born of years of hard fighting against Sunni insurgents.

“I could stand among 1,800 Sunnis in Abu Ghraib,” he said, “and feel more comfortable than standing in a formation of Iraqi soldiers.”

8/06/2007 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

As per the Stratfor scenario in the previous post, we now have this lovely paradox to bolster its central contention:

US Envoy Blasts Iran After Iraq Talks

Associated Press
Tuesday, July 24, 2007 (Baghdad)
At a second meeting with his Iranian counterpart in two months, the US ambassador blasted Tehran on Tuesday for arming and training Shiite militias but agreed to set up a security subcommittee with Iran and Iraq to carry forward work on stabilizing the country.

Got that? "Blasts" but "agreed" to work in conjunction with in order to "stabilize" the country?!

Here's Reuters take:

Iran-U.S. to hold Iraq talks: Iran envoy
Sat Aug 4, 2007 4:11PM EDT
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran, the United States and Iraq will discuss details on Monday of a security committee they agreed to set up last month to help restore security in Iraq, an Iranian official said on Saturday.

Arch foes Tehran and Washington, which cut diplomatic ties shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, held two rounds of rare talks in Baghdad in May and July to find ways to ease Iraq's security crisis.

In the second round of talks, held on July 24 in Baghdad, representatives from the United States, Iran and Iraq agreed to establish a joint committee to investigate issues such as support for militias and al Qaeda in Iraq.

Iran's ambassador to Baghdad, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, said officials would hold further discussions about the joint body on Monday. He was speaking to the IRNA news agency, which portrayed the planned meeting as a third round of talks.

"Based on the previous agreements, on Monday the two sides will exchange views about the details of the trilateral security committee," Kazemi-Qomi told IRNA.

The three countries' representatives would "hold expertise debates about the form and the agenda" of the committee, he said.

"The Iraqi officials have been very hopeful about the outcome of the previous round of talks and have asked us to also have an active presence in the third round of talks," he said.

Really, what else did you expect to come out of a Shiite Islamist government in Iraq and an American President operating way, way out of his depth?

8/06/2007 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Thanks for this excellent analysis, Prof. W.

This is what has kept me coming back since First Fallujah.

This is what Red River must mean when he compares the MSM to Pajamas in a recent thread (Notebook to a Computer Fight), a five year old kid wrasslin' with his teenage big brother.

Your conclusion that the question for policy makers - where do we want to get to - is sound and even obvious, though no part of the political discussion or atmosphere where this war is most in danger of being lost, in the US Congress.

Likewise, considering the source, these Brookings writers may fear they could effect a desired political outcome but not in the way desired by their Institution if their report seems tinged with hope or courage.

8/06/2007 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/06/2007 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Got that? "Blasts" but "agreed" to work in conjunction with in order to "stabilize" the country?!"
We figure it just balances our arming and backing the Sunni Militias, resulting in a "Push" for Peace, of sorts.
Master Poker Player In Chief, remember.

8/06/2007 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bush and Afghan President Differ Over Iran’s Role
President Bush pointedly disagreed with Hamid Karzai’s characterization of Iran as “a helper and a solution” today during their two-day summit.

8/06/2007 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Michael Yon in the New York Daily News provides a synoptic view of some of the very phenomenon we are discussing.

I, like everyone else, will have to wait for September's report from Gen. Petraeus before making more definitive judgments. But I know for certain that three things are different in Iraq now from any other time I've seen it.

1. Iraqis are uniting across sectarian lines to drive Al Qaeda in all its disguises out of Iraq, and they are empowered by the success they are having, each one creating a ripple effect of active citizenship.

2. The Iraqi Army is much more capable now than it was in 2005. It is not ready to go it alone, but if we keep working, that day will come.
3. Gen. Petraeus is running the show. Petraeus may well prove to be to counterinsurgency warfare what Patton was to tank battles with Rommel, or what Churchill was to the Nazis.

The role of the multiethnic, national Iraqi Army in affecting the political outcome is probably crucial. First, all the sectarian groups need to keep the national army together in order to keep a civil war from taking place. We all know from the Brookings poll that nearly 90% of Iraqis want some for of national state. This state is unattainble unless the multiethnic national army is maintained.

The establishment of the Iraqi Army is indirectly but decisively equivalent to a disestablishment of the primacy of Shi'ite militias. There are probably more Shi'ites under arms in the Army than there are with Sadr's militias. Regional forces may be allowed, but the real glue to a unitary state will be the force which America has built.

Driving al-Qaeda from the Sunni areas and discrediting them effectively amounts to a putsch that Petraeus and his advisers have pulled off against the radical Islamists. They have driven them from the leadership of the Sunni insurgency. It's a remarkable achievement on many levels. This doesn't mean that the Sunnis now love America, but it does mean that the insurgent leadership has been split and that some elements in that community are now willing to deal with the US.

I think the three conditions for ultimate "victory" or "success" or whatever you want to call it in Iraq are swimming slowly into view. First, the defeat of the Sunni insurgency to the point where its primary mode of struggle becomes parliamentary rather than armed. Second, the establishment of a professional, relatively apolitical, multiethnic national army which will, by its existence, put the kibosh on any militias with excessive aspirations (regional security forces within bounds are OK). Third, the attainment of a political settlement (equivalent to the US Constitution) which will will truly reflect a workable consensus among Iraqis of all types. And I think this outcome is both in the Iraqi and American national interest.

Right now America is part of the way there. How far, one can debate, but part way there at least. The debate in Washington should be about how to get the rest of the way there. The political controversy should not be about how to "stay the course" forever or how to cut and run and quickly as possible. Those who criticize the early handling of the war should not be so petulant as to throw away what has been built -- and much has been built, such as the Iraqi Army, the political structures and much else -- Iraq is freer than Saudi Arabia! and adopt policies that will make it necessary to begin from the beginning. Those who support the war must reaffirm that the purpose of going to Baghdad in 2003 was to leave it as soon as possible under conditions of victory.

The road forward still seems long and hard, but there is considerable mileage behind. The question for policy makers is, given where we are, quo vadis?

8/06/2007 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hot Air Video: The speech that CAIR didn’t want you to hear
Is Al-Qaeda terrorism "jihad martyrdom" or "irhabi" lawlessness?
During the question period after my notorious YAF talk last Thursday, it came up again: one of the students asked if we weren't conferring legitimacy on Osama and Co. by calling them jihadists instead of something like mufsidoon: evildoers.
That is just one small indication of how influential this idea has become -- and of course it enjoys great influence in the State Department.

Now one of its foremost proponents, a man named Jim Guirard, who called me up a few hours ago and spent a great length of time trying to convince me to get on board with this idea, writes in its defense in Accuracy In Media.
He's responding to this excellent column by Walid Phares, about which I commented at some length here.
Guirard affects a cutesy, folksy writing style, beginning with the three question marks and hapax legoumenon he uses in his title,
"Is AQ-style Terrorism 'Jihadi Martyrdom' or 'Irhabi Murderdom' ???"

Perhaps it is unsporting or invincibly crabbed of me to note such a thing, but I must say I found it incongruous that a man who has the Pentagon's ear and confers with the highest American military officials writes like a lovestruck teenage girl.
With all his cuteness and misspellings, Guirard seems practically to be begging not to be taken seriously. But since he is taken seriously, and his ideas are taken seriously, they are worth dealing with again.
South Carolina: 2 Muslims charged with felonies in explosives scare
Megahed and Mohamed

Update. "2 charged with felonies in explosives scare; Authorities tightlipped on what was found in car," by Noah Haglund and Andy Paras for the Charleston News and Courier (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):
GOOSE CREEK — Two men pulled over Saturday in Goose Creek and detained for carrying explosives in the trunk of a car have been charged with possession of an incendiary device, Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt announced today.

8/06/2007 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

5 Ministers Threaten to Leave Iraq’s Cabinet

Mr. Allawi, a secular Shiite and former member of the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein, criticized the government last week for being “built on the philosophy of sectarianism.” In the past, he has faulted the government’s policies regarding former members of the Baath Party and hiring quotas based on sectarian groupings.

Iyad Jamal al-Din, an Iraqiya lawmaker, denied that the suspension was related to the Consensus Front’s recent pullout. He maintained that it was a protest against Mr. Maliki’s failure to respond to Iraqiya’s demands for reform five months ago.

Describing the move as a “first step,” he said Iraqiya would wait to see how the government reacts. “Everything is possible, all doors are open,” he said.

8/06/2007 07:06:00 PM  

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