I wrote here about the disturbing prospect that the disqualification of hundreds of Sunni candidates in the unpcoming Iraqi elections would degrade those elections and perhaps prompt a surge of sectarian violence. But now, as Max Boot reports based on statements by General Petraeus, it appears that, not for the first time, Iraqi politicians have averted the crisis through a compromise. According to Petraeus, the disqualfication list is no longer weighted against the Sunnis. (There are no doubt many Iraqi figures who richly deserve to be disqualified).
Boot also reports that foreign airlines are planning to increase significantly their service to Iraq. Their decisions are based on increased demand, mostly by Europeans.
A fragile but working democracy, an increase in foreign investment, a steep decline in attacks over the past several years–all these are signs that Iraq is hardly unraveling. That doesn’t mean that it is on a one-way flight to Nirvana. American vigilance and involvement remain essential. But an awful lot has gone right recently–more than I would have predicted back in 2007, when the surge was just beginning. Perhaps, just once in the Middle East, the pessimists will be proven wrong.