IRAQ2010Ali-al-Saadi:AFP:Getty

Nir Rosen evaluates the political impasse in Iraq:

In a sad sense, none of this maneuvering actually matters all that much. Regardless of who becomes prime minister or president, Iraq is about to become increasingly authoritarian. Oil revenues will not kick in for several years, so services are not going to improve. Even when revenues reach Iraqi coffers, infrastructure costs will eat them up for the near future. The lack of services means the government will face street-level dissatisfaction and become harsher and more dictatorial in response -- even if a democratic fa├žade persists.

I think that's optimistic.

(Photo: The shattered windscreen of a vehicle is seen as Iraqis gather along Al-Sheikh Omar Street in the center of the capital Baghdad, after two near-simultaneous roadside bombs detonated, on September 08, 2010, ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. By Ali al-Saadi/AFP/Getty.)

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