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Opinion
The Editors

Iraq’s Promising New Leadership

The U.S. should welcome the emergence of Adel Abdul Mahdi — but not count on him to succeed.

Adel Abdul Mahdi, the designated prime minister of Iraq

Adel Abdul Mahdi, the designated prime minister of Iraq

Photographer: Lisi Niesner/Bloomberg

Iraq’s prime minister-designate, Adel Abdul Mahdi, is the kind of leader the U.S. might have hoped for: experienced, well-respected, and, by the standards of Iraqi politics, above sectarian and ethnic factionalism. Unfortunately, the chances that he can create a government consistent with those values remain slim.

While Washington and its allies should wish Abdul Mahdi success and give his government all reasonable assistance, they would be wise to focus on strengthening economic, cultural and institutional relationships in Iraq without counting on the new leader’s political fortunes.