More evidence that the surge is not making political progress possible in Iraq:

Al-Arabiya is reporting that the emergency political summit of Iraq's leaders has failed to produce even nominal political reconciliation. This is a devastating outcome for the Maliki government and for those Americans who hoped to have some political progress to show in the upcoming Crocker/Petraeus report. There's no other way to spin this: this summit was billed as the last chance, and it has failed.

....I thought there was at least a chance that they would cobble something together out of desperation and find ways to lure the Sunni parties back in....They did not. Instead, Talabani announced the formation of a new four party coalition in support of the current government without any Sunni representation. What's left is a government stripped to its sectarian base the two Kurdish parties and the two major Shia parties and a world of political hurt.

Kevin Drum observes:

[T]he eventual fate of Iraq (outside the Kurdish north) is the establishment of a Shia theocracy closely aligned with Iran. As far as I can tell, no one has even a colorable argument that things are moving in any other direction, and equally, no colorable argument that there's anything we can do to stop it.

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