"Khalilzad told me in an interview in his office after Wednesday’s session that the talks had produced tentative agreement on two basic points: First, the parties endorsed the idea of a unity government that would include all the major factions. Second, they agreed that this government should have a top-level "national security commission" that would include representatives of all the major political parties. Operating by consensus, this body would frame the broad outlines of policy, subject to the Iraqi constitution." Ignatius
"One seeming obstacle to unity has been fear about the role of Iran. To finesse that issue, Hakim said he is urging Iran to talk with the United States about Iraq’s political future. Khalilzad himself has been quietly exploring what he calls the "modalities" for such U.S.-Iran talks on Iraq." Ignatius
David Ignatius has a lot of access to government figures. Maybe that is not always a good thing.
The civil war among the various ethno-religious and political communities has prevented the creation of a government of unity for the last several months. The reason for that is clear. These people don’t feel unified. Community interests still prevail and so the process of allocating power through cabinet positions is seen in Iraq as a definition of who will rule in Iraq and who will be prosperous.
Khalilzad is "stuck" with the problem of squaring the circle in this desperate situation. In the column above, Khalilzad tells Ignatius that to overcome the inability of Iraqi leaders to share power within the framework of the Iraqi constitution, he is advocating the creation of an un-elected "junta" of the leaders of the very factions that have been unable to agree on power sharing legally. This "National Security Commission" would set policy for the government by consensus (ijma’). In effect, the "junta" would rule the country. This kind of rule by consensus of an oligarchy of factional leaders is a familiar pattern in the Islamic World. In many places, the legal constitutional forms are a "Potemkin Village" covering over the actual political and economic rule of the "notables" (ayaan). The members of such "nomenklatura" groups can be business men, military officers, religious figures, etc. Sometimes, one of the "notable" manages to seize enough power to make himself THE ruler but behind him there is always the oligarchic group sustaining him in power and sharing in the loot. "The more things change, the more they remain the same." Will such a "junta" be able to bring a halt to the fighting? It would be interesting to find out.
And then there is this business of US-Iranian negotiations over Iraq. Does this mean that we are admitting that the major contest in the region is really between us and the Iranians over the body of Iraq? What happened to the administration policy position that Iran is the "main enemy?"