Sunday, January 08, 2006

Iraqis Say Government Almost in Place

If the various factions in Iraq can form a National Unity Government in a timely manner, the insurgency will slowly whither away.

Iraq's fractious political groups could form a coalition government within weeks, the country's president said Saturday, as U.S. officials have increased post-election contacts with disaffected Sunni Arabs linked to the insurgency.

Jalal Talabani, Iraq's Kurdish president, offered a timeframe on the formation of a government after meeting with visiting British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who said Iraqis remain optimistic about their future despite suffering through a violent week that saw nearly 200 people killed in two days, including 11 U.S. troops.

In an effort to help draw Sunni Arabs into the political process as a way to dampen the violence, U.S. officials for months have been communicating directly or through channels with members of the disaffected minority connected to the insurgency.

A Western diplomat on Saturday reported a recent "uptick" in those contacts.
Those insurgents "sense that the political process does protect the Sunni community's interest," the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a member of the Shiite Alliance and head of the Dawa party, said in a separate meeting with Straw that the Shiite "alliance and the coalition of Kurdistan and the other tickets, fortunately, are keen to make a national unity government. That common feeling will make the process easier."

This does not support the narrative of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

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