Kurds leaning towards Maliki

The Baghdad rumor mill today is putting the Kurds in Maliki’s camp, which would put him over the top arithmetically.  He would still need to harvest a few Iraqiyya votes for appearances’ sake, but that shouldn’t be impossible, and it might not take long.

This is not good news for Washington, which preferred a government built on a Maliki/Allawi foundation.  The one that seems to be emerging is built on a Maliki/Sadrist foundation, which is likely to be friendlier to Tehran and less able to keep disgruntled Sunnis inside the political process.

But it’s not over until the scruffily bearded guy sings.  Is this just one more turn in the eight-month process, or is this the finale?

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T.X. makes you wince

His piece on contractors is first-rate:  http://www.ndu.edu/inss/news.cfm?action=view&id=52

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Not so upbeat over on L street

Our friends at the Washington Institute are certainly sounding worried about Iraq:  http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=3262

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Ali Jalali at SAIS

The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University invites you to a Forum:

“What Are America’s Real Commitments in Afghanistan?”


Ali Jalali

Minister Ali A. Jalali, Distinguished Professor, Near East and South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA), National Defense University, Washington, DC; Interior Minister of Afghanistan (Jan. 2003-Sept. 2005)

Wednesday, October 27, 5-7 p.m.

Rome Auditorium, 1st Fl., Rome Building

SAIS, Johns Hopkins University

1619 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20036
While U.S. politicians debate America’s CHOICES in Afghanistan, it is worth asking what COMMITMENTS, if any, has the U.S. entered into? Part of the answer lies with the “Afghan Compact”, a five-year agreement between international partners and Afghanistan launched by the Government of Afghanistan at the London Conference, Jan 31-Feb 1, 2006. The compact formalized commitments to Afghanistan and stipulated its key areas of activity. The U.S. reconfirmed its commitment to the compact in November, 2009.  Additionally, a shared, international commitment to Afghanistan was declared   at the Paris Conference in 2008.

Speaker at this Forum, Minister Ali Jalali, former Minister of Internal Affairs of Afghanistan, has written extensively on Afghan military affairs and on civil development. Earlier he served as colonel in the Afghan Army and was a top military planner with Afghan Resistance after the 1979 Soviet invasion.

To register, please send an email with your name and affiliation to SAISCACIForums@jhu.edu, latest by 10 a.m. on the morning of the event. Space at this event may be limited and registration is mandatory. The Forum opens with a reception and refreshments at 5 p.m. The program will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m. and conclude at 7 p.m.    With inquiries please call 202-663-7723.

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Taliban v. Al Qaeda?

Scott Atran thinks so, but only if we stop killing them and accept “separation of men and women in the public sphere” as the foundation of Pashtun tribal life.

via How to Turn the Taliban Against Al Qaeda – NYTimes.com.

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After the Americans, what?

ICG is feeling more positive about the capabilities of the Iraq security forces, but not about their cohesion.  Gotta wonder where that leads!

via Loose Ends: Iraq’s Security Forces Between U.S. Drawdown and Withdrawal – International Crisis Group.

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