Friday, April 21, 2006

al-Jaafari Steps Down

Ibrahim al-Jaafari has agreed to step down as the Shiite candidate for prime minister of Iraq. Early indications are that the Sunnis and Kurds will be willing to back the new nominee, Jawad al-Maliki, an ally of al-Jaafari, meaning that an acceptable unity government may be within reach. There is evidence that al-Jaafari finally succumbed to pressure from both within and without Iraq.

This decision, while not a guarantee that the political process will succeed, is an important step towards democracy. Democracy is not just about winning; it must involve sufficient protection of the rights and interests of minorities so that they will be willing to participate even when they don't win. It' s likely that, if the Sunnis do in fact accept the new candidate, that we'll see an abatement of a large part of the insurgency in the coming months as Sunnis decide that politics is a better guarantee of their interests than violence.

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