End Game

END GAME….The political situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate:

The largest bloc of Sunni Arabs in the Iraqi Parliament threatened to withdraw its ministers from the Shiite-dominated cabinet on Monday in frustration over the government’s failure to deal with Sunni concerns.

….The bloc, known as the Iraqi Consensus Front and made up of three Sunni Arab parties, “has lost hope in rectifying the situation despite all of its sincere and serious efforts to do so,” the statement said.

If the Sunni group followed through on its threat, it would further weaken a government already damaged by the pullout two weeks ago of six cabinet ministers aligned with the renegade Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr and further erode American efforts to promote reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites.

So what’s the answer? More than likely there isn’t one, but Cernig has a long post today in which he reminds us that (a) Ayad Allawi is still lurking around and (b) the Sunni politician Saleh Al-Mutlaq, head of the national dialogue front, has previously suggested that he and some allies are just waiting for the right time to form a new coalition government:

The front, he said, would include “the national dialogue front, the national Iraqi list led by Allawi, the reconciliation and liberation front led by Meshaan Aljuburi, and the Sadr movement.” It would also draw support from Baathists, pan-arabists, the old Army leadership and seven important clerics.

….A coalition such as that described above, combining Sadrists, Sunni hardliners and Allawi-led secularists would, as noted above, [reduce] much of the ability and propensity of Iraqi activists against the occupation to create violence….I know it sounds counter-intuitive — but discreet support for the very elements which the US has fought for at least a goodly portion of the time it has been in Iraq — the Sunni and Shiite nationalists who believe in a sovereign Iraq — may be the only Plan B there is.

I can’t really judge whether this makes sense or not, but it sounds at least plausible. And there’s not much question that the Maliki government is on its last legs. Something’s going to have to give before long, and maybe this is it.