The trouble with failed politicians . . .

The trouble with failed politicians is that they get caught in a timewarp.

Fifteen months ago Iyad Allawi lost power in Iraq's first democratic elections for generations. Two months earlier John Kerry failed in his attempt to oust a President he thought he was destined to beat.

Allawi claims that Iraq stands on the brink of a civil war. He is six to nine months out of date. That's when the violence in post-Saddam Iraq peaked - in the summer to autumn of last year. Kerry endorsed Allawi's position, quite falsely claiming in an interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN on Thursday that since last November the violence in Iraq has moved from being foreign Jihad to civil war. Kerry knows perfectly well that this is simply untrue. In fact the strength of the Iraqi insurgency has remained stable or declined since last year. Meanwhile, the number of foreign Jihadis has, if anything risen. Kerry either knows this, or could have found it out by looking at the Brookings Institute website. So why is he stating the opposite?

Kerry also claims to have a plan for Iraq. He wants to set deadlines for Iraqi politicians to form a government. In this he is more than a year out of date. He still seems to think that Iraq is under occupation-control, and that the Iraqi government is accountable to the Coalition Authority.

Iraq is now a self-governing US ally - like Germany. Germany too took a while to form a government after its last election, but the US did not go round behaving like a colonial power and demanding that the country form a government.

The common problem is this. Kerry and Allawi believe they should have been in power last year. They are still trying to solve the problems of last year. A period of silence from both of them - until they have got over their disappointments and caught up with the events of 2006 - would be much appreciated.

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