The Iraqi government has voted to let the process of dividing up Iraq continue with some political cover, i.e., acknowldeging reality. Why not? The Kurds are already mostly autonomous - they fly Kurdish flags over government buildings and, more importantly, control oil revenues. Now the Shia want the same in the south. Who can be surprised or blame them? Malaiki's government is on political life support and the administrations defenses of the democracy building experiment gone awry remind me of the ROTC guard at the end of Animal House who shouts repeatedly "All is well! All is Well!"
It's great to hear that the Iraqi Interior Minister has Maliki's backing to address Shia militias by reshuffling some forces, but he can only do as much as Moqtada al-Sadr will let him. Lee Hamilton's recommendation coming out of the Rectal Extraction Commision that Bush will hear from after the election will echo this reality and the "stay the course" types will have to accept it, noting that we shouldn't leave all at once. Then the argument over time will be "how fast" do we leave?