Vice President Joe Biden meets with U.N Special Representative for Iraq Ad Melkert, second from left, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 5, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Remember Iraq? Well, for the moment, it is not blowing up or engaged in a raging civil war — and thus is not at the height of the news. Which is sad.
Iraq, for the time being, is stabilizing — and after a long 9 months of standoff between various political parties — not only between Al-Maliki and Allawi but between Barzani, Talabani, al-Hashemi, al-Sadr and others — the government has been formed and is being launched today.
In a remarkable move, Ayad Allawi who won the plurality in the last election but couldn’t assemble a majority government has agreed to support the emerging government deal even though his own position as head of a “security and strategy council” has not been finalized.
The behind the scenes movers on this — the key ones — have been Vice President Joe Biden and UN Special Representative for Iraq Ad Melkert. They have worked assiduously every other day and every week together with other key players to get the Iraq equation right — and for all of the attention on key media-hugging protagonists, the real deal was solved in getting Barzani, al-Hashemi and others to show great “strategic restraint” and to be stabilizers of the political equilibrium — rather than disruptors.
So — big news today — even if the news isn’t carrying much of it.
Not only has the Obama/Biden administration delivered on DADT, a tax deal compromise, and most likely on New START, but also on Iraq.
There’s more to do — but this is not bad for the tally card.
— Steve Clemons