"U.S. and Iraqi officials are hoping that a government representing Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds will be able to quell both the Sunni-led insurgency and bloody Shiite-Sunni violence that has raged during the political uncertainty. If it succeeds, it could enable the United States to begin bringing home troops.
Mr. al-Maliki has a reputation as a hard-line, outspoken defender of the Shia position — raising questions over whether he will be able to negotiate the delicate sectarian balancing act." Globe and Mail
The Bush Administration, its "congregation" and what is called the "mainstream media" are all infatuated with political PROCESS as panacea.
Across the world, and Iraq is not an exception, the expectation on the part of these groups is that political processes which are conducted in accordance with our concepts of civic probity and fairness will produce governments which do not wage war against their neighbors and which will be accepted by the people they rule.
In Iraq we have yet another example of this belief on our part. The clear expectation is that if the Iraqis can succeed in forming a cabinet that represents the major ethno-religious groups, then the JUSTICE of this will be recognized and the Sunni Arabs will stop giving the Islamo-nationalist-tribal-Baathist guerrillas the support that the Bush Administration and its "Amen" chorus used to insist did not exist. What is wrong with that theory?
Symbols are only effective in changing behavior if they are believed to be representative of reality. It is the belief that "counts" here rather than the reality itself. The formation of a government of "unity" is symbolic and in and of itself changes nothing. Phony governments of unity and coalitions of this or that occur in the Islamic World with great frequency. Rebellions are ended through conference and "devolution" of power to minorities and regions with ennui inspiring regularity. It usually means nothing. Rather, it is just a reflection of the "conferenciasis" that afflicts the region.
A "unity" cabinet will be welcomed throughout Iraq. The peoples will then watch to see if the symbol matches the reality for them. As I said, perception in such matters is all.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.