News / Middle East

Analysts Say US Vice President's Iraq Visit Helps Push Formation of New Government

TEXT SIZE - +
Deborah Block

Earlier this week in Baghdad, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged Iraq's political leaders to end their differences and form a government.  Four months after Iraq's parliamentary elections, the country remains in a political deadlock after no party received the majority of the votes.  Our correspondent spoke with analysts on whether Biden's visit could help end the stalemate in Iraq.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden held talks with Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki, and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, whose secular Iraqiya party narrowly defeated Mr. Malaki's Shi'ite State of Law alliance.  Mr. Biden also met with President Jalal Talbani, a Kurd.  The vice president stressed that Washington takes no side in the dispute over who should lead Iraq.

"I remain as I have from the beginning, extremely optimistic about a government formed here that will be representative, represent all the major parties," said Vice President Joe Biden.



Ahmed Ali, an Iraq analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, agrees the U.S. wants to remain neutral.

"The administration has decided since the beginning of the elections not to dictate any terms to the Iraq politicians and Iraq political parties," said Ahmed Ali.

Since the parliamentary election in March, both Prime Minister Malaki and Mr. Allawi have insisted they should head the next government.   Charles Dunne, an Iraq expert at the Middle East Institute in Washington, says Vice President Biden is helping push the political process along.

"I think the politics in the past couple of weeks, especially the last week, even during the Biden visit, have become a little bit more fluid," said   Charles Dunne. "You've seen several series of talks between Malaki and Allawi.  And I think we start to see some progress being made in at least the next month."

Iraqi militant Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called on Iraqi leaders not to be swayed by the United States.  Dunne, on the contrary, says he thinks most Iraqis want to see a higher level of U.S. engagement in the political process.

"I've been told by senior Iraqi officials that anyone who wants to become prime minister in Iraq today wants to be the American candidate," he said. "Nobody will say that in public because of political reasons, but that is what is reflected, I think, in their eagerness to meet with Biden and the welcome that he received for his efforts in coming to Iraq."

Biden stressed that progress on forming a government could only be made if Iraqi leaders focus on the national interest.  He said Iraqi political leaders must have all major political blocs proportionally represented in the new government for it to work.  Dunne disagrees.

"I am not in favor of a proportional representation system that creates, in effect, a national unity government that is really only a recipe for dysfunction," said Dunne. "I think there are some parties that don't necessarily need to be represented in the government, and certainly some that should not have control of key ministries."

During Biden's visit more violence occurred in Iraq.  Ahmed Ali says insurgents, especially those with connections to al-Qaida in Iraq, are taking advantage of the lull in the government.

"The type of violence has changed," he said. "It has turned mostly into assassination attempts and assassinations against political candidates and religious figures.  That's the most worrisome about the current violence, is it could trigger a reaction from one group against another group."

Analysts and some Iraqi lawmakers say it still could be months before a new government is put into place in Iraq.  

But U.S. officials would like that to happen sooner, before more American military troops leave Iraq by the end of August, leaving 50,000 troops in an advisory role.  

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid