Friday, April 08, 2005

Christian Science Monitor: Thorny issues loom for Iraq leaders. Breaking the deadlock over forming Iraq's interim government came down, in the end, to a simple compromise: Kurds dropped their immediate demand that the oil-rich city of Kirkuk be added to their autonomous section of Iraq, and Shiite Arabs said they wouldn't insist on dismantling the Kurds' peshmerga militia. The country's two main political powers have essentially deferred these and other difficult issues until a time when Iraq's politics may be calmer and the two sides may be closer. It's a position that many observers expected to have been reached within weeks of the election. But this was a compromise between radically different factions in a country where threats and the gun have long stood in for dialogue.

The Daily Times [Pakistan] editorial: Iraq has done well. The impasse that had gripped the Iraqi parliament on the issue of the presidency has been resolved. The new Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, is a Kurd, the first to become modern Iraq’s leader. Also, the first non-Arab leader of an Arab state. The two vice-presidents represent the other two sectarian factions in the country. Adel Abdul Mahdi, finance minister in the outgoing interim government, is Shia while Ghazi Yawar, a former president, is a Sunni tribal leader. As the parliament’s new speaker-elect, Hajem Al Hassani said after the vote: “This is the new Iraq — an Iraq that elects a Kurd to be president and an Arab former president as his deputy. What more could the world want from us?”[...]