Marc Lynch met with the Iraqi VP:

[Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi] argued that the Iraqi people want and need the upcoming elections to deliver fundamental change.  Only a new government, he insisted, one selected by fair and transparent and inclusive elections, could meet the challenges which the current government has failed to overcome.   He was 100% sure that such a new government would do better at addressing the many structural and political problems facing Iraq.  But when pressed by several of us in the room, he seemed loathe to speculate about what would happen if the elections did not produce such change, just another government which looks a lot like the current one.

 He insisted that this was just not possible given the deep desire among Iraqis for real change.  But at the same time, his concerns about the deBaathification disqualifications and worries that some elements might prefer a failed election suggest that in fact he thinks that it's quite possible indeed for the elections to not produce meaningful change.    It's not even clear, frankly, what plausible electoral outcomes would count as meaningful change  --- would a victory by Maliki's list would be taken as "failure"?

Anyone who can look at what has been going on there these past few months and believe that we are going to be able to leave behind anything but sectarian entropy has a neocon's view of reality.

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