Small Wars Journal

Iraq Gets a Government—and It Was Worth the Wait

Iraq Gets a Government—and It Was Worth the Wait by Kenneth M. Pollack - Wall Street Journal

The outlines of a new Iraqi government have formed, after nearly four months of postelection politicking. Iraqis have much to be optimistic about. On Tuesday Iraq’s Kurdish parties selected Barham Salih to be the new president of Iraq. He immediately named veteran Shiite politician Adel Abdul Mahdi to serve as prime minister and form a government.

Mr. Salih is a dynamic, creative, reform-minded leader. As a politician he has promoted democracy, integrity and economic opportunity. Mr. Mahdi is a sober, pragmatic and moderate statesman respected by effectively every Iraqi—a rare feat in a fractured country.

Perhaps more heartening, their competitors were equally commendable. Mr. Salih beat Fuad Hussein—known for his wisdom and ability to forge compromises. Mr. Mahdi was ultimately chosen over Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s competent and professional intelligence chief, whose appointment to that delicate position was one of the most brilliant strokes of Haider al-Abadi’s term as prime minister.

Given how badly Iraq’s May elections turned out—rampant fraud, miserable voter turnout and a badly fragmented Parliament—the ultimate outcome should provide hope for Iraq’s future. A government led by Mr. Salih, Mr. Mahdi and the Sunni Arab speaker of Parliament, Mohammed al-Halbusi, is probably better than anyone could have imagined in May…

Read on.