Those Iraqi Election Results

In full - thanks to Iraq The Model. The good news - and I'd say it's very good - is that the Sunni Arab parties have made serious gains, more than I expected. Juan Cole notices some Shiite rhetorical positioning. I'd place more emphasis on the following:

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the country’s largest Shia party, told The Associated Press in an interview that Sunni Arabs must accept the 'new reality' in Iraq and shoulder their responsibility to rebuild the nation nearly three years after the collapse of Saddam's Sunni-dominated regime.

'Every day we are getting closer to accepting this reality. But there are some groups that will not accept this,' al-Hakim said, citing religious extremists and Saddam loyalists. 'Those people will continue confronting the government...Those people should be confronted firmly by the government.' ...

'The important thing is that they [Sunnis] believe there is a new reality in Iraq,' al-Hakim said. 'The doors are open to them and no one wants to confront, harm them or deprive them of their legitimate constitutional rights. They are our brothers and they will get their rights.'

May the dirty deal-making commence. And let's hope Zalmay can arm-twist real concessions for the winnable Sunni center. Bit by bit, there's still a chance for success. And this, of course, is a critical lever against Iran. I don't buy the idea that a democratic, federal state in Iraq is somehow a boon to Iran, just because the biggest Iraqi group will be Shiite. Our best hope in Iran is not what we can do; but what the Iranian people can do to topple their deeply unpopular theocracy. The example of democratic pluralism next door is a real threat to the mullahs. And would be a real shining light for the democratic resistance. Persistence, persistence ...

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