(MENAFN - Arab News) The deal worked out by leaders of parties has more than a touch of Lebanon about it
It seems that finally, after eight months of party political squabbling and maneuvering following Marchs inconclusive elections, Iraq is close to having a new government. A power-sharing deal has been hammered out in principle between the opposition Iraqiyya block, Prime Minister Nuri Al-Malikis State of Law bloc and the main Kurdish alliance. It has resulted in Jalal Talabani being reappointed president, Al-Maliki prime minister and a member of the largely Sunni Iraqiyya bloc elected speaker of Parliament.
As such it is welcome news. There has to be a stable and workable government. A new deadly momentum of violence was building up, seen in the recent horrific attacks on Christians and Shiites. Militants have been intent on spreading chaos and taking advantage of the present power vacuum. If the barbarity of the attacks has brought the politicians to their senses and made them face up to their responsibilities then some good will have come out of the tragedy.
However, it is far too premature to start celebrating on Iraqs behalf. The deal there could still go sour or unravel.
Parliament may have reappointed Al-Maliki as prime minister but he has another four weeks to persuade his predecessor Iyad Allawi and the Iraqiyya bloc to join his government. He may fail. If that happens, Iraqi Sunnis will continue to feel marginalized, with potentially deadly consequences. The walkout of Parliament by Allawi and a number of his Iraqiyya colleagues on Thursday amid accusations that Al-Maliki had backtracked on promises to lift the ban on a number of former Baathists may have been a symbolic gesture, but it shows how fragile the situation is. In any event, four weeks is a long time in politics. There could be yet more violence. A lot more Iraqis may die before a government is finally in place.
There is another reason for concern. The deal has more than a touch of Lebanon about it. A Kurdish president, a Shiite prime minister, a Sunni speaker of Parliament: Lebanons political model is hardly the best to follow. It may be temporarily necessary but Iraq is creating dire problems for the future if the share-out becomes entrenched. If the Sunni community is handed no more than the token post of speaker, it will feel excluded. That will play into the hands of the militants, as it has in Lebanon.
There will never be peace in Iraq unless its politicians put their communal differences aside and work for the common Iraqi good. The key word there is Iraqi. A government in Baghdad that is seen to act as a tool of a foreign power - any foreign power - to the detriment of a part of its own people will be the cause of continued conflict and strife.
Iraq has to have a genuinely inclusive government in which all the main communities - Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds - feel they have a stake. Anything less will be disastrous.