Back to focus index
Although Iraq has made political progress over the past few years it still falls far short of the level of political accommodation it needs to control its ethnic and sectarian divisions, ensure adequate representation for all ethno-religious groups, and create the conditions for effective governance. Despite the success of the national elections in March 2010, when over two thirds of the population defied threats of violence to cast their ballots—with a particularly strong turnout among Sunnis and Kurds—it is still unclear whether Iraq can form a stable “national” coalition government. If Iraq is successful, it will still take years for the new elected and appointed officials to develop the capacity they need to govern effectively.
Effective leadership and governance will take much longer to develop—particularly as power changes hands and new coalitions form within Parliament. The precedents are not encouraging. The first post-invasion parliamentary election was held on December 15, 2005. The Shi‘ite coalition that emerged as the dominant party was paralyzed by internal political splits, and only named Nouri al-Maliki as a compromise Prime Minister on April 22, 2006. It then took until May to name ministers and until June before the government could begin to function.
--Elena Derby and Anthony H. Cordesman
Center for Strategic and International Studies
From the CIAO Database:
Outside Sources: *
Iraq timeline (BBC)
The Toll of the War (NPR)
The Human Cost of the War in Iraq:
A Mortality Study, 2002-2006
The Iraqi Public on the US Presence and the
Future of Iraq
* Outside links are not maintained. For broken outside links, CIAO recommends the Way Back Machine.