Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's first task on returning to Baghdad after his summit with President Bush was to convene a press conference and ask Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's political wing in the Iraqi parliament to end their boycott and return to the political process.
Al- Maliki needs them to preserve his fragile coalition of Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and secularists. After a suitable period – days or weeks – al-Sadr's men will probably comply. They cannot continue to run the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and key government departments forever without government funding.
Editor's note: Click here to read the rest of Tom Aspell's post in our sister Web log, Blogging Baghdad.