When Iraq holds nationwide parliamentary elections on Wednesday, is it possible for Washington to secure a victory for the Iraqi people and enhance U.S. interests? The answer depends on awareness of past bipartisan mistakes, effects of those blunders, and willingness to use U.S. leverage more wisely than after prior Iraqi elections.
Following 2006 parliamentary elections, President George W. Bush's ambassador in Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, helped select Nouri al-Maliki to become prime minister. After Khalilzad's intervention, Sunni and Kurdish politicians endorsed Maliki's candidacy, and within three months, he became Iraq's prime minister.
In 2010 parliamentary elections, Maliki came in second to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya coalition. But Washington foolishly joined Tehran to assist Maliki form the new government. Fortunately, Sunnis and Kurds are less likely to side with him in 2014, but Washington may be sticking with Maliki...
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