Extract from a piece I did in the National this week on the floundering effort to negotiate a U.S.-Iraq security deal to replace the current UN Resolution that expires in December:
The problem, for the US and for those Iraqi political factions most dependent on its presence, is that the vast majority of Iraqis oppose a long-term US presence, which to them feels like an occupation. The demand for the US to agree to a departure date enjoys overwhelming support – and public opinion is clearly reflected in the response of Iraqi parliamentarians to the security deal with Washington.
What the Bush administration is encountering here is the unkind reality of just how few friends America really has in Iraq. Sure, it has an alliance with the government of Mr Maliki, the prime minister, and with its largest party, the Supreme Islamic Council. And it also has cordial relations with some of the Sunni nationalist parties and, of course, with the Kurds.
But none of these groups shares the US agenda for Iraq. Instead, each has responded to the US presence as an opportunity to pursue its own ends. Each has engaged in tactical alliances with Washington in the hope of using US power against its foes in the intra-Iraqi power game.
To read the whole thing, click here.