“Does it ever seem to you that the news from the Middle East is always bleak? Well, take heart. From Iraq, where the United States sought to plant seeds of democracy, there is evidence of some budding. The good news is that Shiites and Sunnis and Kurds have been trying to resolve tough procedural issues over oil rights and shares of seats in parliament, not with guns and bombs in the streets, but in parliament itself. Despite some glitches, the aim is to enable a landmark national election to go forward in January. Whether or not they make that deadline, this is (fragile) democracy in action. But even more significant news – a major step for women – went largely unnoticed outside Iraq. Fifty women graduated alongside male classmates as senior officers in the national police force. In next year’s class there will be 100 of them. The jobs are among the highest-paying in Iraq. The majority of the women in this year’s class finished law school. There have been some women in lower police ranks, but they have not until now been eligible for the elite officers’ corps.”
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