Today, the AP reports, Iraqi leaders have formed a new majority alliance:
The Iraqi prime minister and president announced a new alliance of moderate Shiites and Kurds in a push to save the crumbing government Thursday, saying a key Sunni bloc refused to join but the door remained open to them. ...
At the news conference announcing the political accord, President Jalal Talabani and al-Maliki were flanked by the leader of the northern autonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, and Shiite Vice President Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi.
The four men signed a three-page agreement they said ensures them a majority in the 275-member parliament that would allow action on legislation demanded by the U.S.
A cynical observer might predict: a rush of legislation being passed by the reengineered Iraqi parliament just in time before the September non-Petraeus Petraeus report, fulfilling several of the Congressionally-mandated benchmarks.
Convenient that. Unfortunately, such a rash of legislation cannot disguise the fact that the Iraqi government effectively now only represents the interests of the Shiite and the Kurdish political parties. Here's Marc Lynch's take on it:
I thought there was at least a chance that they would cobble something together out of desperation and find ways to lure the Sunni parties back in - if for no other reason than that, by the accounts I've seen, American officials on the sidelines were heavily pressuring them to come back with something. It probably wouldn't have resolved the underlying problems (government spokesman Ali Dabbagh made it clear in advance that no substantive issues would be discussed), but I thought they might well emerge with a face-saving compromise. They did not. Instead, Talabani announced the formation of a new four party coalition in support of the current government without any Sunni representation. What's left is a government stripped to its sectarian base - the two Kurdish parties and the two major Shia parties - and a world of political hurt.
I guess there's a chance Rozen is being a little too cynical, as American officials must have realized that a unified Iraqi government was a bigger selling point for the continuation of the surge than some hastily passed legislation by an incomplete government. Then again, the idea that such legislation won't be cited as some sort of a progress is naive, regardless of how such legislation came about.