Monday, May 21, 2007

Iraq parliament going on vacation? Leaders are mostly gone now

As Juan Cole notes, this can only add to the power vacuum. And, an expanded power vacuum is not good news for Iraq, nor an American military presence. Nor for an increasingly self-impotentizing Democratic Party leadership.

As Cole notes:

Nothing is likely to get done in their absence. Even under the best of circumstances, getting Talabani, Barzani, al-Hakim, al-Maliki and al-Hashimi all on the same page is nearly a miracle. But for the next few weeks it won't be possible at all.

By the way, Talabani and al-Hakim were among the closest allies of the US Neoconservatives, who Sarah Baxter says are in their twilight.

Will al-Maliki take advantage of this vacuum to grab more powers for the office of prime minister? So far he has not shown that kind of political savvy. But his predecessor, Ibrahim Jaafari, did try to make Talabani a merely ceremonial president. And, the weaker Da'wa Party may want to try to come up in the world now that the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council leadership is weakened.

Or, is it time for Moqtada al-Sadr to make his next move?

In any case, the draft oil law will continue to go nowhere (fortunately) in this vacuum. But, so too will the idea of an Iraqi government taking seriously ever more vapid and defanged Democratic Party “benchmarks for progress.”

Is it any wonder that, after a good starting point, Congress’ polling points continue to sink?