G&S Reads: Smart People
In today's Post, Fareed Zakaria writes:
Initially the Sunnis thought they could use military power -- through the insurgency -- to get their way. Now many Shiites think they can use military power -- through the government's security services and militias -- to get their way. For our part, despite the denials, we believed that what we needed was more troops, Iraqi troops. Except that 260,000 Iraqi soldiers and police are "standing up" and it hasn't led to any significant withdrawal of Americans. The reality is that only an effective political bargain will bring about order.Indeed. Read the whole thing.
Co-opting the majority of the Sunnis is the simplest way [new PM Nouri al-] Maliki can cripple the insurgency.
Maliki will have to stake out national positions on the proposed amendments to the constitution, the sharing of oil revenue and other such matters. But even sooner he will have to address the core Sunni demand: an end to the de-Baathification process, which has thrown tens of thousands of Sunnis out of jobs and barred them from new ones. Iraq's deputy prime minister, Barham Salih, a Kurd, told me that "the time has come for us to be courageous enough to admit that there were massive mistakes in de-Baathification."
The greatest challenge here comes from the large and growing Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr. This renegade cleric is mounting a frontal challenge to the United States and to the authority of the new Iraqi government (even while he takes charge of some of its ministries).
If Maliki cannot handle him, Moqtada al-Sadr will become the most powerful man in Iraq. And Nouri al-Maliki will not be the first elected prime minister of a new Iraq, but the last prime minister of an experiment that failed.