The United States over the past week has once again managed to temporarily achieve one of its key goals in Iraq, uniting the factionalized Iraqi government — against the United States. “Blackwater Shooting Crisis Rallies Baghdad” (registration req’d) is the title of a Wall Street Journal story on the fatal shooting by Blackwater military contractors of eleven Iraqi bystanders (twelve others were wounded) during a Sept. 16 security incident of a still-disputed nature:
[T]he government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has managed to galvanize broad-based opposition to an order issued in the waning days of direct American rule in Iraq that lays out broad immunity from criminal prosecution for U.S. diplomats, troops and private contractors operating in Iraq.
The U.S. Embassy here has released few details of what happened, saying U.S. officials are continuing to investigate. But the shooting has brought together Iraq’s three biggest and mostly hostile factions — Sunni Muslim Arabs, Shiite Muslim Arabs and ethnic Kurds.
“This is a very good point on which everyone agrees,” says Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of Iraq’s Parliament.