Strange Endorsement

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Bobby Ghosh reports that the Baath Party — yes, that Baath Party – is endorsing Ayad Allawi to replace Nouri al-Maliki as Iraq’s prime minister. You’d think, for a Shi’ite, that an endorsement from the Sunni-dominated outfit that Saddam rode to power and used to consolidate his dictatorship would be the political equivalent of a kiss of death. You’d also think that the folks in Washington who are backing Allawi over al-Maliki might reconsider if they thought Allawi had allied himself with the Baathists. But with realpolitik back in favor (at least in some quarters), what was once intolerably cynical might now seem merely pragmatic.