Monday, October 17, 2005

Hard Road Ahead in Iraq

For U.S., a Hard Road Is Still Ahead in Iraq

Just arrived in New York. I'm here for a meeting of the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Affairs.

On this side of the Atlantic the foreign policy interest is almost exclusively focused on Iraq.

When there is talk about "the war", it is Iraq it is all about. One sees a war there, and it is the war that the United States is concerned with.

The referendum passed without major incidents, which must be seen as a real success. And it looks as if the constitution has been approved.

But the success must be qualified. It seems as if the constitution was roundly rejected in two provinces with solid Sunni Arab majorities. Rejection in a third would have killed it altogether.

Now it will be of great importance to see which conclusions the Sunni leaders draw of this.

Will they see it as a reason to become more involved in the political process and seek a greater role through the coming parliamentary election? Or will they feel defeated, and turn more to different forms of resistance instead?

It remains to be seen. The nerveousness on this side of the Atlantic is easy to detect.