Election posters from 2010 show pictures (right) of Ayed Allawi, leader of the beleaguered Iraqiya party. Since it lost the race to power in 2010, major opposition bloc Iraqiya has been shrinking, with defections and internal dissent. Now two leading members want to team with Iraqiyaâ€™s enemy, State of Law, for elections in 2013.
Nouri al-Maliki is among the most paranoid of recent minor despots. He rules as if he misunderstands the saying. Time and again, he takes an unwise and unpopular stand and, in the face of massive protest, refuses to re-evaluate as if to do so would show weakness. That's what he and others like him don't get.