Twice in recent days, senior Iraqi government officials have stressed the need to solve the parliamentary stalemate internally within Iraq, without influence from outside: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki specifically warned the United States not to interfere in the country’s internal affairs, while Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi reportedly described it as “an internal affair and non-Iraqis are not involved in it”.
These comments come days after US Vice President Joe Biden visited the country and urged the parties to find an agreement. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it this week: “The United States expresses no preference in the outcome in the government formation but we share a sense of urgency. The people of Iraq deserve to have a government that is ready to meet their needs and we hope that that occurs soon.”
With foreign governments, aid agencies, and businesses picking up the tab – and not just financially – it is not unreasonable for them to express a desire to get the situation resolved as soon as possible. We are now in month five.
Many countries have emerged from dark times in the past and gone on to prosper, but how many of those had the advantage of sitting on a lake of oil? The population desperately requires even basic services and infrastructure, and has the means of solving its problems right under its feet.
Rarely have the stakes been so high, and the potential rewards so huge.
The clock is ticking.