Iraqi Government Shake-Up to Pass US-Demanded Legislation

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Yesterday, a report in Dubai-based Gulfnews forecast a Baghdad govenrment “shake-up”:

Under pressure from the Congress, Arab states and Sunni Iraqi leaders, the US administration on Tuesday set the stage for “major” political changes in Iraq.

The changes will be in “the structure, nature and direction of the Iraqi state,” a senior American official in Baghdad was quoted by AP as saying.

He did not give out details, but the plan is expected to be high on the agenda of a ‘crisis summit’ which would be attended by key Iraqi leaders who seek to save the crumbling national unity government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki.

Today, the AP reports, Iraqi leaders have formed a new majority alliance:

The Iraqi prime minister and president announced a new alliance of moderate Shiites and Kurds in a push to save the crumbing government Thursday, saying a key Sunni bloc refused to join but the door remained open to them. …

At the news conference announcing the political accord, President Jalal Talabani and al-Maliki were flanked by the leader of the northern autonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, and Shiite Vice President Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

The four men signed a three-page agreement they said ensures them a majority in the 275-member parliament that would allow action on legislation demanded by the U.S.

A cynical observer might predict: a rush of legislation being passed by the reengineered Iraqi parliament just in time before the September non-Petraeus Petraeus report, fulfilling several of the Congressionally-mandated benchmarks.

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