May 24, 2011 01:44 AM By Ramzy Mardini of The Daily Star -
On the streets of Baghdad and in the corridors of Parliament, the American unity experiment in Iraq has increasingly become, as one politician put it, “a farce that must end.”
For most Iraqis, American engagement for the past several years has only come bearing deficits – in terms of priorities, foresight, and partnership. Last December, Iraq’s bickering parties forged a power-sharing agreement that ended a record-breaking stalemate following the 2010 elections. Actively pushed for by the Obama administration, the “national partnership” agreement brought all blocs together to form a governing coalition. Now, six months later, little confidence remains about the value and stability of the new government.
Despite its inevitable collapse, the United States strongly supports Iraq’s unity government, praising it as a mature step forward. The U.S.-brokered settlement “reflects the results of those elections,” wrote Vice President Joseph Biden at the time, and “does not exclude or marginalize anyone.” Yet, the deal secured Nouri al-Maliki another term as prime minister, despite his bloc’s second-place finish in the elections. The cornerstone of the accord was the foolhardy establishment of a National Council for Higher Policies.