Violence in Iraq is hitting unprecedented lows, and Iraqi forces are gradually assuming command over parts of the country previously controlled by American troops. But with the summer break and Ramadan looming, politicians aren’t taking advantage of the lull in violence to pass much-needed legislation, and PM Nouri al-Maliki is consolidating his own power, the Economist reports.
Even as the Sunni-Shia-Kurd divide closes somewhat, Shia factions continue to emerge. Most important, progress is stalled on a provincial elections bill that would have helped pacify the alienated Sunnis. Without the measure, elections may have to be delayed until 2009, “thus increasing the risk that the Sunnis will lose patience because of being denied a voice in government.”