With a hint of hope and more than a bit of relief, Iraq's parliament finally met Saturday to endorse a deal among rival factions to name a prime minister and get the first permanent government of the post-Saddam Hussein era off the ground.
The 266 legislators who met in a sweltering Baghdad convention center ended a four-month wait that followed national elections in December. They distributed top political jobs, including the presidency and the speaker of parliament, among Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties.
This is a very positive step. There are still a number of huge political hurdles that have to be cleared, but it is a positive step.
But, whenever there is a bit of positive news, there always seem to be something that reminds of the current reality.
Three U.S. soldiers were killed Sunday when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb northwest of Baghdad, the U.S. command said. That brought the number of American troops killed in the Iraqi capital area over the weekend to eight.
The truth is, while Ibrahim al-Jafari has been replaced, Jawad al-Maliki comes from the same faction as Jafari, and his views are seen by some are being even more pro Shiite than Jafari's.
To expect this to make a huge difference in Iraq may be overly hopeful.