Today marked the first convening of the Iraqi parliament since the national elections took place in March. Parliament's meeting, which occurred following a large-scale attack on the Iraqi Central Bank in Baghdad, is an important milestone in the process of establishing a government. However, the ongoing political maneuvering involving Iraq's major political parties, each of which are attempting to increase its odds of leading a ruling coalition, overshadowed Parliament's meeting. Wrangling among these groups will likely spell further delays for the Iraqi political calendar, raising the possibility of political paralysis, as well as instability.
Six years after the war began, a popular and political consensus has emerged on the way forward. This new consensus represents an important turning point in the debate over Iraq -- and an important early victory for the Administration’s ability to enunciate and build support for national security policies that are pragmatic, progressive and widely supported.
This week has seen two contrary Iraq-related developments: a troubling spate of violence that has killed more than 50 Iraqis in bombings the last two days, and an attempt by President Bush to blame the intelligence community, members of Congress, world leaders and the previous administration, for the faulty intelligence presented to justify the war.
Yesterday the Iraqi cabinet approved a security agreement that stipulates that the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq should take place by the end of 2011. This reflects a growing consensus that it is time for American forces to redeploy.