Press voices relief, scepticism at Iraq government deal

President Jalal Talabani (l), PM Nouri al-Maliki in parliament, 11 November The deal ends months of deadlock

Press commentators in Iraq and neighbouring countries have mixed views on the agreement to form a new Iraqi government.

One Iraqi commentator compares the end of the eight-month power vacuum in the country to a "dream", but another predicts a rocky ride ahead as the new coalition's main players jockey for power.

In the wider region, many condemn the settlement as the product of sectarian and ethnic self-interest, as well as interference from Iraq's neighbours.

SADIQ HUSSEIN AL-RIKABI IN IRAQ'S AL-AKHBAAR

Iraqis were sat glued to their TV screens yesterday, watching parliament give birth to their new, eight-month-old baby government. It was a very difficult and complicated delivery indeed... The whole world was watching a unique democratic experiment.... Many of those who are hostile to this fledgling democracy view this as a terrible nightmare, while most Iraqis see it as a nice dream that at long last could usher in an era of stability, prosperity and reconstruction.

MAHDI QASSIM IN SOTALIRAQ

We are going to have a surreal government, with two leaders who are all too eager to lock horns with each other... We can imagine the force and frequency of the blows these two hot, hard heads will be exchanging soon as each tries to beat the other into submission... As usual, the victims of this anticipated ram fight are, of course, going to be ordinary, vulnerable and harmless Iraqis... So congratulations to the people of Iraq on another four bleak years.

UK-BASED AL-QUDS AL-ARABI

It is true that this agreement will resolve the political crisis that has been affecting the country... but it is also true that several groups in Iraq are not convinced by it. Al-Iraqiyya is the biggest loser. Despite winning the March parliamentary elections, it has made no gains. Nouri Maliki is without doubt the biggest winner, as he has forcefully imposed himself as the prime minister.

SALAMAH AKUR IN JORDAN'S AL-RA'Y

The crisis is in essence is a classic case of sectarian conflict. Iraq's neighbours have played conflicting roles, affecting relations between the winning parliamentary blocs... The Kurds are exploiting the struggle between the blocs to push through their own interests... Arab countries must not sit idly by, but instead use their political and economic weight to boost their influence for the sake of [Iraqi] unity and to combat sectarianism and racism.

SATI NUR-AL-DIN IN LEBANON'S AL-SAFIR

The most important thing about the agreement is that it is a settlement made in Baghdad and by Iraqis themselves, with a minimum of external interference - a fact some observers of the Iraqi crisis regard as decisive.

MOHAMMED AKIF JAMAL IN UAE'S AL-BAYAN

There is nothing on the horizon that causes optimism: Iraq is sliding towards the unknown, and disagreements between the political elites are about to erupt onto the street.

ASLI AYDINTASBAS IN TURKEY'S MILLIYET

The new Iraqi government did not develop the way Turkey wanted. A powerful Shia bloc supported by Iran has seized power in Baghdad. It seems Ankara's efforts to support the Sunnis and counterbalance Iran have not yielded the desired results.

CENGIZ CANDAR IN TURKEY'S RADIKAL

The Kurds have become so powerful that unless they say 'yes', no Iraqi government can be formed.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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