Once touted as a “stabilizing event” by US officials hopeful of a summer troop drawdown, Iraq’s March 7 election has turned out to be one of the most destabilizing events the nation has seen in recent years, so much so that the initial winner, Iraqiya bloc leader Ayad Allawi, is now openly calling for an internationally-established caretaker government and new elections.
With repeated disqualifications before and after the election and at least one Iraqiya MP being held without charges by the Maliki government, the chances of an equanimous settlement seem to be getting slimmer by the day.
Though it is clear the Obama Administration would like to see the situation resolved as quickly as possible, so far all they’ve done is issue a vague statement admonishing everyone to “set aside their differences” and work together.
Though on the surface one might expect the administration to be more pro-active there seems to be a growing reticence to make comments which could create enmity between the US and whoever eventually ends up in charge of Iraq. The greatest fear, according to one analyst, is “another Karzai-like mess.”
As the US waits for someone to seem safely in charge enough to embrace, the date of the US promised “drawdown” draws ever near, and increasingly, the threat of rising violence looks to derail that schedule.
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