A friend who doesn't scare easily writes from Iraq:
I'm afraid things are coming to a tipping point here. If the Chalibi-Iranian faction succeeds in keeping those 15 pro-Alawi Sunni parties off the ballot all bets are off. I can see a Shiia-on-Shiia civil war (with the Sunnis backing the Alawi faction) or a military coup as real possibilities. At this point, the best thing to happen would be to postpone the election. If they go ahead toward March the way they are heading, all bets are off. I don't think Washington is fully engaged with Haiti and Afghan distracting them. A lot of bad vibes here.
Tom again: Chalabi amazes me. He certainly is a survivor. What will the Doug Feiths and Richard Perles of the world say if he winds up running Iraq as an anti-American, anti-democratic, pro-Iranian leader? I'm sure they'll find some glib, bullshitty way of blaming it on President Obama.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.