Iraq: the disaster continues

From Juan Cole's Informed Comment:

USA Today reports that support for the al-Maliki government in parliament is eroding. He hasn't been able to push key legislation through parliament, and appears indecisive. (I think the problems are structural, not inherent in al-Maliki's personality. He seems pretty decisive to me. But he heads what is essentially a minority government, since his United Iraqi Alliance only has about 85 members in the 275-member parliament after recent defections. He can only survive by depending heavily on the Kurdistan Alliance, a bloc deeply committed to a weak federal government. He doesn't have much of an army of his own, and cannot independently do much about the guerrilla war. It is not clear who could do better.

Kim Gamel of AP writes about the new "dump truck bomb" tactics of the Sunni Arab guerrillas in Iraq.

The LA Times reports a major split in the Iraqi Baath Party. The Baath is more important as a component of the guerrilla war than is usually admitted by the US press and by the Bush administration. Al-Hayat reported this winter that actually the Baath has split into 4 parties, with Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri leading the most influential one.

The US is pursuing indirect diplomacy with Iran on a range of issues now, Warren Strobel and Nancy Youssef report.

Reuters reports political violence in Iraq for Monday.

Regional players don't want the US to depart Iraq.

Tomdispatch considers the Virginia Tech murder spree in a global context, with former State Department official John Brown writing on 'the Cho in the White House.'

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