Reuters reports that the 5 leaders of Iraq's major factions have agreed on principle on key political benchmarks that the US has put forward:
The agreement by the five leaders was one of the most significant political developments in Iraq for months and was quickly welcomed by the United States, which hopes such moves will ease sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands...
Iraqi officials said the five leaders had agreed on draft legislation that would ease curbs on former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party joining the civil service and military.
Consensus was also reached on a law governing provincial powers as well as setting up a mechanism to release some detainees held without charge, a key demand of Sunni Arabs since the majority being held are Sunnis.
The laws need to be passed by Iraq's fractious parliament, which has yet to receive any of the drafts.
Democratic Congressional leaders have been moving the ball on Iraq -- insisting first that it would be impossible to improve security, then arguing that while security had improved, political progress was impossible. Many reported that Senator Carl Levin had called for the ouster of Prime Minister Maliki due to the lack of agreement. But those accounts missed a small caveat: as I pointed out at the Standard, he said that Maliki had 'a few days' to show significant progress.
Levin has consistently been one of the fairer Democratic Congressional leaders on Iraq. If he sticks by his word and supports more time for the people of Iraq, he will be an important voice.