Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's return to Iraq after self-imposed exile in Iran bolsters voices that want all U.S. troops out by the end of 2011 and marks the transition of his group from a militia to a powerful political force, says CFR's Mohamad Bazzi.
Iraq's coalition government is a promising resolution to nine months of political wrangling after national elections, says expert Joost Hiltermann, but questions loom about how effective the power-sharing agreement will be.
Mohamad Bazzi says that as Nouri al-Maliki has finally cobbled together Iraq's new government, the bitter compromises and power-sharing deals are likely to unleash a sectarian clash between Shias, the minority Sunnis, and Kurds.
Despite a walkout by political leader Ayad Allawi, the Iraq power-sharing deal can hold if Prime Minister Maliki keeps his word and if the formation of a new government stir up frictions among rival blocs, says Iraq expert Charles W. Dunne.
Despite reports of an emerging breakthrough, Iraq's political deadlock remains unresolved and seemingly far from the compromises necessary to clear the way for a governing coalition, says expert Joost R. Hiltermann.
President Obama's declaration on ending the U.S. combat mission in Iraq did not address crucial questions about America's military role in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Iraqis worry that political stalemate, widespread corruption, and weak domestic security forces will plague their country if the U.S. pulls out completely next year, says veteran journalist Jane Arraf.
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