Economist, 4 Mar 10: Iraq's Election: No Promised Land at the End of All This
....the nature of Iraqi politics has not changed during the countryís first full parliamentary term. Party leaders aim to dispatch rivals rather than engage them. Alliances are fleeting and often end with knives in backs. The reason can be found in the roots of many of Iraqís politicians, former exiles who for years plotted in the dark, pursued by Saddamís agents. Today they continue to act with the zeal of the powerless. They trust no one, perpetuating a system not just Machiavellian but outright Hobbesian. Assassination is still the most likely cause of death in Iraqi politics.

The state bureaucracy is no less dysfunctional. Government institutions are viewed as spoils, divided up between the parties. Iranís main Shia allies staff the Immigration Commission. The Dawa party controls the Martyrs Organisation, which supports the families of war victims. Even the central bank and the electoral commission are partisan. The prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has little control over his ministries, many of which are in the hands of his rivals. Turf wars pollute everything....
ICG, 25 Feb 10: Iraq's Uncertain Future: Elections and Beyond