08 November, 2008

Paying Dividends

He's been our President-Elect for just over three days now, and already there's signs that positive change is happening:

Barack Obama's victory this week generated international acclaim, but the impact in Iraq was of a more practical nature.

As recently as last week, Iraqi officials were reluctant to sign a security agreement with the Bush administration, even with a troop withdrawal timeline, because they knew Bush would be gone soon, and weren't sure what kind of commitment they could count on from the next president.

Then Iraqi officials saw what happened on Tuesday. Now, they're feeling better.

Barack Obama may have been elected only three days ago, but his victory is already beginning to shift the political ground in Iraq and the region.

Iraqi Shiite politicians are indicating that they will move faster toward a new security agreement about American troops, and a Bush administration official said he believed that Iraqis could ratify the agreement as early as the middle of this month.

"Before, the Iraqis were thinking that if they sign the pact, there will be no respect for the schedule of troop withdrawal by Dec. 31, 2011," said Hadi al-Ameri, a powerful member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a major Shiite party. "If Republicans were still there, there would be no respect for this timetable. This is a positive step to have the same theory about the timetable as Mr. Obama."

Jabeer Habeeb, an independent Shiite lawmaker and a political scientist at Baghdad University, put it simply: "Obama's election shifts Iraq into a new position."

It's going to make a tremendous difference to have a man in office that other countries respect and trust. We could end up *gasp* leading the world again.

The world is full of crazy fuckwits. So is this country. So it wouldn't be wise to expect miracles of the man. But he's certainly off to a good start.

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