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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid