According to the Washington Post’s Tom Ricks, US officers in Iraq are saying that the failure of the government of PM Nuri al-Maliki to capitalize on the reduction of violence in Baghdad to work for political reconciliation forms a grave danger to the future of Iraq.
Al-Maliki, a fundamentalist Shiite, has lost the Sunni Arab members of his former ‘national unity’ government, and does not seem to have made any really serious effort to woo them back. Nor has al-Maliki succeeded in reaching out to Sunni Arabs who support or used to support the guerrilla movement, to bring them into the political process.
US officers also complain that the ministers in the government are not providing essential services to the people.
Last I knew, al-Maliki’s government had $10 bn. in reserves that they are declining actually to spend. If not now, when?
US intel officers are also apparently saying that it is important to hold provincial elections. I absolutely agree and have felt this way for some time. The Sunni provincial leadership is unrepresentative, and this causes a lot of problems.
Beyond that step, though, al-Maliki really has to reach out to the Sunni Arabs. But he is not doing it, and he may be just unable, by virtue of his long years as a guerrilla, to do so.
Bombs killed 17 persons in Iraq on Sunday, including 3 US troops. The three US soldiers were killed Sunday in Baquba in a suicide bombing attack.
Reuters reports political violence for Sunday. Major incidents:
‘ BAGHDAD – At least nine people were killed and 20 wounded by a car bomb targeting Finance Ministry adviser Salman al-Mugotar in al-Hurriya Square in central Baghdad’s Karrada district, police said. Mugotar was not hurt.
BAQUBA – A roadside bomb targeting a U.S. foot patrol in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, killed at least three children, two of them siblings, and wounded seven people, police said.
SAMAWA – The provincial governor of Muthanna province accused U.S. troops of opening fire on civilian cars south of Baghdad, wounding six people, and threatened to suspend ties with U.S. officials over the attack. A U.S. military spokesman said no information was immediately available on the incident.
BAGHDAD – The Iraqi army killed four gunmen and arrested 63 others during the last 24 hours, in different parts in Iraq, the Defence Ministry said.
MOSUL – A parked car bomb killed three people, including a woman, and wounded 16 others, including four policemen, when it targeted a police patrol in central Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
TIKRIT – A roadside bomb killed an Iraqi army officer and a soldier and wounded another while they were trying to defuse it in central Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. . .
DIWANIYA – Iraqi security forces captured 47 militants, including three Mehdi Army leaders, and confiscated weapons in Diwaniya 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, a police official said.’