April 9, 2009
According to preliminary results, the big electoral winner was Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law coalition. While 10 percent of the votes must still be counted, it is apparent that the relatively peaceful atmosphere on Election Day was a triumph for U.S. policy and a vindication of the Bush Administration's surge strategy. But it remains to be seen whether all the contending factions will peacefully accept the provincial election results and, more importantly, the results of national elections slated for December. The Obama Administration must be careful to maintain adequate U.S. troops in Iraq to safeguard the prospects for continued political progress.