News / Middle East

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

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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid