Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON -- Iraq's new governing coalition is the most compelling evidence yet that President Bush's decision to topple its terrorist regime was the right course of action for all the right geopolitical reasons.

Four months after Iraq went to the polls to elect a permanent parliament to represent them, Iraqi political leaders -- Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites -- put their sectarian differences behind them to choose a prime minister who is forming a new Cabinet to govern the country.

The decision to put aside deep disagreements for the greater good of Iraq's democratic government, still in its infancy, dealt another sharp blow to al Qaeda's evil efforts to ignite a civil war and plunge the country into chaos.

Prime Minister Jawad Maliki is a hard-nosed leader who has the skills to bring factions together under the umbrella of a greater Iraq. He fought Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and was forced to flee his country to save his life. "He is an Iraqi patriot," said U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad.

For a time there, many questioned whether the Iraqis could overcome their political and sectarian differences to pick a prime minister who was accepted by a broad majority coalition. Months of internal bickering, a surge in terrorist violence aimed at triggering a war between Sunnis and Shiites, and a refusal to even meet with one another led many to predict that perhaps democracy was impossible for the Iraqis.

Last weekend's sudden breakthrough dispelled those doubts. Like the regional and political differences that delayed the Constitutional founding of our own republic, the Iraqis leaders came together in the final moments and breathed new life into their historic democratic movement.

Without expressly saying it, their action declared there would be no civil war -- only a united front in the war to defeat the terrorists in their midst who see democracy as the greatest threat to their insurgency.

At the same time, it was another strategic victory for the United States and for Bush's policy to plant the seeds of democracy in the Middle East region's terrorist-breeding grounds. It was also another dramatic reminder of what his policy has accomplished there -- replacing terrorist regimes with free, independent, self-governing democracies that are pro-West and solid allies of the U.S. war against terror.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.