The national unity cabinet that Iraq presented this weekend will remain impotent unless Iraq can reform its “corrupt, brutal and highly partisan security forces”–the death squads that now range the country with impunity–argues the Times’ editorial board.

N.Y. Times:

There’s just one major problem with the national unity cabinet presented over the weekend by Iraq’s new prime minister. On the most important national issue ? reforming Iraq’s corrupt, brutal and highly partisan security forces ? no unity has yet been achieved.

To some Iraqi politicians, it appears, the prospect of civil war seems less terrifying than the prospect of compromise over who will control the vital security ministries: defense, interior and national security. Among them, these ministries control the Army, the police and the prisons.

For now, these three ministries will be run by stopgap acting leaders. If broadly acceptable and competent ministers can be agreed on in the next few days, there is still some realistic chance that the new government can start turning around the awful mess it has inherited.



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