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Making Deals in Iraq

We were dismayed yesterday to report that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki had reached out to Muqtada al Sadr to help him finally form a government in Iraq. Some seven months after the election. Today the Washington Post reports that al Sadr is encouraging al Maliki to reach out to Ayad Allawi to form a power sharing coalition. Allawi's Sunni group actually won the most votes in that election. But on its own didn't have the power to make deals with the majority Shiites. This news is amazing on a number of levels if true. Al Sadr helped fan the flames of what turned out to be close to all out war between Sunnis and Shiites back in 2006 when as many as hundred civilians a day were getting killed in Iraq. And while no saint, Allawi is someone the U.S. can stomach. He's a secular Shiite and former Bathist who the Sunnis trust. And if the Sunnis and Shiites can make a deal, Iraq has a chance.

Just a minute. I'm Harry Smith, CBS News.

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