GOOD NEWS FROM IRAQ….According to the Pentagon, new focus group findings in Iraq have produced some good news: it turns out that Iraqis have a number of “shared beliefs” about their current situation that “cut across sectarian lines.”

Great! And what is this good news? “Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of ‘occupying forces’ as the key to national reconciliation.”

Really, you can’t make this stuff up. Elsewhere, the Pentagon’s quarterly report on Iraq tells us that we’re making security gains in Iraq, but:

The provinces just north of Baghdad and Anbar have shown the least progress, as Sunni Arab insurgents move their bases north. In Nineveh province and its capital, Mosul, violence remained above 2006 levels.

The report argues that the gains are not irreversible, and it casts a pessimistic light on the ability of the central government to meet many of the legislative goals set by U.S. officials. The report calls the lack of progress disappointing and says failures are hindering reconciliation between warring sects within Iraq.

And David Ignatius passes along the good news that the UN has brokered a postponement of the scheduled election in Kirkuk, which illustrates “that there can be virtuous cycles, too, even in a country as bitterly divided as this one.”

That’s true, and the UN deal is a relief. Unfortunately, I suspect that “virtuous cycles” aren’t the reason for it. Instead, my guess is that the Kurdish leadership decided that it wouldn’t hurt to have a few more months to chase out even more Arabs and Turkmen and install an even bigger Kurdish majority in the city. As with so much else in Iraq, the UN agreement might be good news, or it might merely be a postponement of bad news. Caveat emptor.

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