- Mexican train carrying 1,300 migrants headed toward U.S. derails
- Secret Service begins regular K-9 patrols around White House
- Pentagon’s human memory-chip program moves forward
- Obama blasts GOP, ignores immigration crisis in Texas speech
- Marine Warfighting Lab tests the Godzilla of amphibious assault vehicles
- Harry Reid: Birth-control ruling the worst Supreme Court decision in 25 years
- Vet suicides ‘horrible human cost’ of VA dysfunction: lawmaker
- First marijuana customer in Spokane says he was fired
- Hagel: ‘Make no mistake,’ ISIL is an ‘imminent’ threat to U.S.
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to ‘fight for national sovereignty’
Sectarian struggle hampers Iraq’s progress
Question of the Day
Violence, corruption and sectarian loyalties are all contributing to the Iraqi government’s failure to meet a series of congressionally mandated benchmarks.
But even if the unruly Iraqi parliament were to pass laws the United States is seeking, analysts and Iraqis say, they would have little impact outside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.
President Bush is expected to report as early as today that the Iraqis have made scant progress on 18 benchmarks established by Congress in May, setting off a new round of questions about a U.S. “surge” strategy designed to give the Iraqis a chance to pursue political reconciliation.
No such consensus has occurred, and Joost Hiltermann, an analyst for the International Crisis Group based in Amman, Jordan, said that is because the Iraqi government and parliament are neither able nor willing to govern.
Made up of mostly Kurdish and Shi’ite parties which have no interest in sharing power with a Sunni minority that long oppressed them under Saddam Hussein, the government is not eager to make the concessions needed for political consensus, said Mr. Hiltermann.
“Even if they are under American pressure to give up some power to the Sunni Arabs, the fact is that U.S. leverage is sharply reduced because the United States has not been able to control the violence, it has not stabilized any areas, reconstruction has come to a halt, and now it is talking about leaving altogether,” he said.
Further weakening Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government — whose orders carry little weight outside the four square miles of the Green Zone — is a bitter power struggle with followers of militant Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Sheik al-Sadr, whose bloc of seats in parliament helped put Mr. al-Maliki in power, has pulled his six Cabinet members out of the government. By the end of last month, the largest Sunni bloc had also quit the government.
The Cabinet now has only 25 of its 37 posts occupied, and the 275-seat parliament has been reduced to 188 active members.
Shi’ite legislators and militiamen are widely thought to be under Iran’s influence. Sheik al-Sadr’s militia is also reportedly under increasing Iranian control.
“The government knows if it loses the friendship of the United States, it will be destroyed. And if it loses the friendship of Iran, they will be assassinated. So, in this environment, do you think anyone can work properly?” Hassan asked.
Instead, he said, ministers and members of parliament are busy lining their pockets while others have been accused of murder and leading death squads. Mr. al-Maliki, he said, has been too weak of a leader to prevent the country’s slow slide into chaos.
Where the government has made progress on the benchmarks, has been in areas that required few, if any, concessions to the Sunnis.
A widely touted oil law — designed to fairly distribute oil revenue among the various factions — has been dragging its way through parliament. But even if that and other laws are passed, there is serious doubt that they will be implemented effectively.
By Ted Cruz
Banning speech with a constitutional amendment is playing with fire
- GOP: Lerner warned IRS employees to hide information from Congress
- IRS employee suspended for pro-Obama activities
- HUSAIN: The fake caliph of 'The Islamic State'
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- Amid border crisis, Obama to take 15-day vacation in Martha's Vineyard
- EDITORIAL: Whats Obama hiding at illegal-alien 'refugee' camps?
- Illegal immigrants showing up at border with 'Yes we can' Obama shoes: report
- HUSAR: Mexicos Pena Nieto passes the immigration bucket
- Facebook allows 'Kill Kendall Jones' page, but deletes her game hunting photos
- Va. Democrat reportedly seeks nude shots of Kendall Jones
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs
U.S.-Ghana World Cup opener