ShareThis Page
U.S./World

Biden in Iraq as stalemate grips politics

| Sunday, July 4, 2010

BAGHDAD -- Vice President Joe Biden returned Saturday to Iraq to coax its government into picking a prime minister, months after elections left the nascent democracy in a state of gridlock as the United States prepares to pull out its troops.

Biden's trip -- his fifth since he was elected vice president and his second this year -- signals Washington's growing impatience with Iraq's stalled political process since the March 7 vote. The Iraqi election failed to produce a clear winner, and competing political alliances have been angling to secure an edge in parliament, mostly through backroom deals that leave voters out of the process.

The vice president was upbeat upon arrival, downplaying concerns that the impasse would lead to a crisis.

"This is local politics," Biden said in brief remarks at the sprawling U.S. military base west of Baghdad known as Camp Victory. "This is not a lot different than any other government."

He added, "I remain, as I have from the beginning, extremely optimistic about the government being formed here."

Iraqi officials appeared cool to the prospect of Biden's muscling in on their political scene.

"The aim of Biden's visit is not to impose a point of view nor an attempt to interfere in Iraq's political process," said Yassin Majid, an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He said Biden and the prime minister would meet today to discuss plans for American troops to leave Iraq and ways to deepen ties between the two countries, as well as ways to build the new government.

Biden's aides were quick to note that he will offer help only if it is requested, and he will not advocate for any specific coalition or agenda -- other than an end to the delay that has, in turn, pushed back resolution of a number of issues facing Iraq.

The vice president is set to meet Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi during the long July Fourth weekend that he is in Iraq. Biden also plans to meet with troops and attend a naturalization ceremony.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me