Even after the dire warning of recent massive bomb blasts, Baghdad's elites cannot reach an agreement on the election law. They've already missed the deadline for October 15. The reason?

The parties remained divided on laws governing elections in Kirkuk, an oil-rich province to the north of Baghdad that has long been a point of contention between Kurds and Arabs. Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish legislator, said he was critical of the leaders’ proposed solution on Kirkuk, which would combine voting registration records from 2004 and 2009 to reflect the province changing population, which grew more Kurdish in those years.

The surge was supposed to create the space necessary for the sectarian factions to come together. That was its critical definition of success. So far: surge fail. And if the parties cannot hammer out an agreement now, with 120,000 US troops still in country, what chance once the US leaves?

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