Couldn’t Be Soon Enough

‘Failed’ American envoy to leave Iraq
By Patrick Cockburn in Arbil, northern Iraq
Published: 07 November 2006

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy in Baghdad who tried to conciliate the Sunni people, is to leave his post in the next few months said a senior member of the US administration.

“Khalilzad really failed because greater Sunni political participation has not reduced the violence and has at the same time angered the Shia,” said a senior Kurdish political figure.

Appointed ambassador to Iraq in April 2005 Mr Khalilzad played a highly active role in Iraqi politics but the crisis has worsened dramatically during his tenure.

The Afghan-born Mr Khalilzad was more effective than his predecessors in cultivating Iraqi political leaders. He sought to amend the Iraqi constitution before it was approved in a referendum in October so it would be more acceptable to the Sunni community that largely supports armed resistance to the US occupation. Mr Khalilzad also played a central role in getting rid of the prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari only to find that his successor Nouri al-Maliki was more resistant to US demands.

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