The Washington Post reports: Once derided as a “traffic warden” by members of his own party, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has won public and political praise for sending troops to reclaim disputed territory after the Kurdish independence vote last month.
The action has earned the Iraqi leader the prestige that eluded him after successive victories against the Islamic State. Even some of his traditional critics have called his decision “wise” and “shrewd.”
By moving forcefully, Abadi has burnished his nationalist credentials and quieted potential challengers in next year’s elections who are backed by Iran and espouse policies of Shiite dominance, analysts and Iraqi politicians said.
For the United States, Abadi’s surging popularity is probably the silver lining of a crisis that has pitted two of its closest political and military allies — the Iraqi government and the Kurds — against each other. Many Iraqi politicians say Abadi has all but assured his reelection next year. [Continue reading…]