PROGRESS IN IRAQ?….It took two weeks instead of the two days it usually takes in America, but Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari’s insistence that he would never ever step down turned out to mean exactly the same thing it means in America: that he would agree to step down. The Washington Post reports:

Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari has “given up his bid and is ready to quit the candidacy in the best interest of the country,” the second-highest-ranking member of Jafari’s Dawa Party, Jawad al-Maliki, said at a nationally televised news conference.

Only a day before, Jafari himself had said in another news conference that such a withdrawal was “out of the question.”

This is, I hope, good news, although most of the alternatives to Jafari aren’t exactly comforting propositions themselves. Presumably we’ll find out what deals have gone down over the weekend.