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Bobby Ghosh

Iraq’s New Prime Minister Trips on His First Hurdle

Adel Abdul Mahdi showed himself to be a good analyst of the country’s problems. But his cabinet choices show he may not have the solutions.

Man with no plan. 

Man with no plan. 

Photographer: Haydar Karaalp/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In an essay he wrote on his Facebook page five months ago, Adel Abdul Mahdi said he wouldn’t want to be Iraq’s next prime minister. The country’s toxic political culture would make it impossible to govern, he claimed. “Assuming I got accepted now, I will soon lose,” he wrote. “I will face majorities which will not allow their groups to provide necessary support.”

Now that Abdul Mahdi is prime minister, he’s discovering just how right he was. The question is whether he will seek to do anything about it.