First Day of Meeting Ends: Iraqi Govt Still a Long Way Off

High Profile Arbil Conference Highlights Divide Among Blocs

The first day of a three day conference in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil has come to a conclusion, and despite pre-conference talk of a deal being all but in place, officials now say that the actual government formation is a long way off.

Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani praised the talks as an “historic moment” as all the major political¬† blocs met to try to form a government some eight months after the initial parliamentary vote, but others warned that the 90 minute talks only underscored the major differences among the factions.

Publicly, both Nouri al-Maliki and Ayad Allawi claimed the right to take the prime ministership, suggesting that recent comments on Allawi’s willingness to accept his party being a minor player in a Maliki-dominated government were greatly exaggerated.

Iraqiya MP Tareq al-Hashemi, one of the outgoing vice presidents of Iraq, cautioned that the three day conference wasn’t nearly enough time, as the weeks of meetings by committees ahead of the high profile talks had skipped most of the toughest issues. It seems that while officials aren’t willing to concede to a hung parliament after the election, the actual formation of a government remains elusive.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.