Iraq and Gulf Analysis

An Iraq Blog by a Victim of the Human Rights Crimes of the Norwegian Government

The Sadrist Watershed Confirmed

Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 29 March 2010 13:04

The allocation of seats to individuals released by IHEC today confirms the growing strength of the Sadrists within the mainly Shiite Iraqi National Alliance (INA). The Sadrist position has in fact been consolidated in the final allocation (where the female quota has been taken into account), leaving it with 39 deputies which is 57% of the 68 INA deputies confirmed at the individual level. Additionally, depending on a decision by the federal supreme court, they may get two more seats since IHEC regulation 21 awards the compensation seats (two are due to INA) to those vote-getters with the highest number of votes that failed to achieve representation.

Sadr Badr ISCI Jaafari Fadila Other
Basra 3 1 2 1
Maysan 3 1 1 1
Dhi Qar 4 2 1 2
Muthanna 2 1
Qadisiyya 2 1 2
Babel 3 1 1
Najaf 3 1 1
Karbala 2 1
Wasit 3 1*
Baghdad 12 2 1 1 1
Diyala 2 1
Nineveh 1
Total 39 9 8 1 6 5

****

It is worth mentioning that the main competitor of the Sadrists within INA – ISCI and Badr, who now emerge weakened with no more than around 17 seats altogether – will be watching (and maybe pressing) the court on the issue of compensation seats, since it benefitted enormously from the old arrangement back in 2005, whereby it received no less than a third of its 30 parliamentary seats through “compensation seats” awarded by the party leadership without reference to the preferences of the electorate. In this way, many ISCI representatives in the previous parliament received their seats on the basis of no more than a few hundred votes in obscure locations (from a Shiite point of view) like Anbar. Other significant INA developments include the complete marginalisation of Jaafari (only he himself won a seat), along with a slight improvement on the part of Fadila, helped mainly by the female quota.

Intra-list re-ordering of candidates is somewhat less systematic with respect to other entities. It is however noteworthy that much of the attempt by Nuri al-Maliki to build bridges to Sunnis and secularists by welding together a diverse list has been reversed by the electorate in places like Baghdad. Many Westerners hailed Maliki for bringing Sunnis and secularists like Hajim al-Hasani, Abad Mutlak al-Jibburi, Abd al-Qadir al-Ubaydi, Mahdi al-Hafiz and Izzat al-Shabandar into his camp; however with less than a thousand votes each, they have all been demoted to non-winning positions on the Baghdad list for State of Law.

At some point, it is likely that the new balance of power within INA will make an impact on the dynamics of coalition formation. It is noteworthy that several Sadrists have been positive in their public comments about Allawi in the past few days.

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48 Responses to “The Sadrist Watershed Confirmed”

  1. Gösta Grönroos said

    Many thanks for the table. I’m not so familiar with the Fadila movement, and I can’t find much valuable information on the net, so if you have the time to drop a comment on what impact Fadila may have for coalition building, I’d be greatful. But I’m even more keen on the tables for Iraqiya, SOL and Kurdistani.

  2. Ali Wasati said

    Reidar, could Moqtada Al Sadr really accept his pary to ally against other shias with Allawi who lead an attack on Najaf during his uprising? Even though maybe a few of his members spoke well of Allawi, it would be a weird and suprising turn a round?

  3. Ari said

    How much secular(Iraqia,Kurdistan list,secular members of Maliki)seats have been won in the new parlament in %?

    Thank you in advance.

  4. Kermanshahi said

    Do you also know the divisions within’ the INM? How many seats did Allawi’s party get, how many did al-Mutlaq’s party get and how many did al-Hashemi’s party get? How many seats did Da’awa win within’ the SLC and what was the PUK-KDP divide within’ the Kurdistan Alliance? I know that prior to the elections they claimed to have won 44 seats, 27 for the KDP and 17 for the PUK, however now it seems they only took 42 governorate seats.

  5. Kermanshahi said

    Do you BTW also know how many seats al-Anizi’s Dawa breakaway faction won among the NIA?

  6. “It is noteworthy that several Sadrists have been positive in their public comments about Allawi in the past few days.”

    I can already hear the sounds of minds blowing up and down the Eastern seaboard and across the capitals of Europe.

  7. Gösta Grönroos said

    A follow-up on the prospect of further de-Baathification affecting number of seats allocated to the different lists. According to AFP today, al-Lami has listed six elected candidates to be barred (pending legal review), one of whom is alleged to belong to the Iraqiya-list. In addition, al-Lami said that “banned candidates could not be replaced by their party, and added any votes cast for those would-be politicians would be annulled”. What are we to make of it?

  8. Ali Wasati said

    I think to believe that the Sadrists would ally with Maliki is very optimistic in my humble opinion. The facts is even though there is serious friction between Maliki and the Sadrists, I think the unity between them which would continue shia dominance would be seen as a more important agenda. Also the fact is that the Sadrist are one of the most anti-baathist factions in Iraq.

  9. Reidar Visser said

    Thanks to everyone for the input and my apologies for being offline for several hours.

    I’ll begin at the top. Gösta, Fadila is a Sadrist breakaway movement focused on a cleric called Yaqubi who has challenged the leadership of Muqtada al-Sadr. Back in 2005-2007 they were nationalist in parliament and regionalist (in Basra. Now they have lost voters and appear to be prepared to do anyting in order to recoup some influence.

    Many of you ask about tables for the other coalitions. I might try to do something for INM, but it is noteworthy that in most of these other coalitions the centrifugal forces are not as immense as in the case of INA. The potential counter-movements lack the strength of for example the Sadrists. In fact Hiwar actually merged with Wifaq (the nucleus of INM) last autumn. SLA is Maliki first, then Daawa, and then not so much else it seems. I will not even try to say anything about internal Kurdish politics – I cannot read Kurdish and am not qualified to say anything about it except as far as the Baghdad-Arbil axis is concerned. But Kermanshahi, the Anizi faction is more my territory: They got zero and Anizi is out.

    Ali, I don’t know whether this is true, but some Iraqis maintain that Allawi effectively sheltered Sadr at a time when some on the American side wanted to go further than
    just arresting him. The Allawi and Sadr families are inter-married.

    With respect to the post-election de-Baathification potential, it seems Lami will not give the names of the six candidates pending an appeal to the appeals board. It should be stressed that the various regulations on this are not ready-made, i.e. the appeals board is a stop-gap thing that has been transplanted from the AJ legislation and is now being used by Lami in ways he finds iuseful. Others take different interpretations; for example, the head of IHEC has uggested that the seat of any deputy that is disqualified should stay with his or her list.

  10. Sina said

    “At some point, it is likely that the new balance of power within INA will make an impact on the dynamics of coalition formation. It is noteworthy that several Sadrists have been positive in their public comments about Allawi in the past few days.”

    Interesting…The boy who would be king(maker).

  11. @ Ali: “I think the unity between them which would continue shia dominance would be seen as a more important agenda”

    @ RV: “Ali, I don’t know whether this is true, but some Iraqis maintain that Allawi effectively sheltered Sadr at a time when some on the American side wanted to go further than just arresting him. The Allawi and Sadr families are inter-married”

    I agree with Reidar here that a Sadr/Allawi coalition is very possible (stopping short of probable) but for reasons of a shared nationalist agenda that’s strongly supported among Sadr’s base. I was unaware of the familial connection.

    Anecdotal, of course, but there’s a taste of the sentiment in Sadr city in this Guardian piece:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/28/iraq-al-maliki-shia-al-sadr

    Reidar, do you suppose that the Sadrist strategy in initially joining the INA was to directly dilute the ISCI/Badr vote?

  12. Reidar Visser said

    Steve, I wouldn’t want to speculate too much about why they joined INA. It was something Iran wanted them to do, it was something Muqtada in Qum agreed to after the Iranians, Chalabi and Hakim had persuaded him, and it was something that remained in conflict with some of the more nationalism-oriented Sadrist leaders that remain in Iraq. I think the whole spectrum from pan-Iraqi to pan-Shiite/pro-Iranian is represented in the Sadr bloc.

  13. Thanks Reidar. Whatever the reason, he and his advisers have certainly extracted a price for his adversaries’ underestimation of his capabilities. Again.

    “I think the whole spectrum from pan-Iraqi to pan-Shiite/pro-Iranian is represented in the Sadr bloc.”

    That’s quite a chasm to bridge!

  14. Kermanshahi said

    So al-Anizi got zero and I read that al-Bolani from Unity Alliance failed to win even a seat for himself. How about other leaders like for instance from Tawafuq?

  15. Mohammed said

    Dear Reidar:

    Can you please expand upon what is the existing law regarding the Justice and Accountability Commission? We hear varying reports of their legitimacy. On one hand, your comments about making up laws on the go are quite concerning, but, there seems to be some legal basis for what they are doing. IHEC seems to be a pretty legitimate organization, and they for the most part abide by the ruling of the Justice and Accountability Commission. Let us leave aside the question of Chalabi and Al-Lami’s impartiality. Does such a commission have the legal basis to disqualify candidates? It seems that IHEC, the parliment, and supreme court recognize their jurisdiction? I would appreciate your thoughts and your insight about how this is likely to change going forward.

  16. Reidar Visser said

    Kermanshahi and Mohammed, my apologies for being so brief, but these are themes that I have written about elsewhere and I just don’t have time to repeat it all over now. The full results (re Tawafuq – they performed badly), see http://historiae.org/uncertified.asp
    With regard to the legal framework (or the lack of such a framework) see for example http://gulfanalysis.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/mutlak-and-ani-are-banned-miscarriage-of-justice-in-iraq/
    but also many other posts from February and January this year. Basically, the AJ law deals with de-Baathification in the bureaucracy, the appeals court is also designed to deal with it on that basis, whereas no law has been issued with reference to glorification of the Baath and no court of appeal that can handle cases under this heading exists.

  17. Kermanshahi said

    Reidar I have already long read both those reports, I’ve been following the elections extensively and this site was very usefull, I read everything that has been posted here since the NIA was created. I however still don’t know whether peopel like Ayad al-Samarrai, Osama Tawfiq al-Tikriti, Khaled al-Baraa, Hassan Tawran Taiseer Mashhadani, Salim Jabbouri and Mutshar Aliawi made it to parliament, obviously not all of them did, but I’m particulary interested to know about the first two.

    BTW, do you consider the possibility that the current results are just a temporory shift of support by voters from religious to secular parties? Some analysts including yourself seem to promote a view that Iraq has moved to secular, nationalism for ever. However in all democracies you can see that it keeps changing, for instance in the US you have the republicans and power and than later the democrats come to power again and it keeps switching back. Iraq has just had a few terrible 5 years and that during rule by religious parties, it obvious they would loose this time but I believe later they will come back again. People will also get fed up with figures like Allawi and Maliki and eventually their opposition, Tawafuq and ISCI will come regain votes.

  18. bb said

    my goodness, in Najaf the heart of the shia establishment,ISCI Badr only get 1 seat. What has the world come to?

    Reidar, I think in your speculation about coalition-forming you should keep in mind that Maliki has the advantage of incumbency here. That is, he has the choice of doing nothing.
    He can tell ISCI/Badr, Sadrists and Kurds that it is up to them to work out whether they want to join an Allawi- sunni led government and when they have decided, get back to him. In the meantime he remains prime minister and his government remains in place, collecting their salaries and perks.

    Given the Iraqi parties record of endless procrastination and argumentation it could end up like the oil law and still be unresolved at the time of the next election?

  19. Reidar Visser said

    Kermanshahi, sorry I thought you were just asking about the numbers. I came across a convenient list of all the Tawafuq winners:
    ففي محافظة صلاح الدين فاز عن التوافق مرشحين اثنين هما بحسب الأصوات التي حصلا عليها مطشر حسين عليوي ياسين 10.186 وأسامة توفيق مخلف عبد الغفور بحصوله على 8.336 صوتان في حين حصل على مقعدي التوافق في الأنبار خالد عبد الله محيسن محمد بحصوله على 10.846 صوتا ووليد عبود حمد عبد بواقع 5.975 صوتا.
    أما في محافظتي بغداد ونينوى فقد فاز بمقعدي قائمة التوافق كلا من إياد صالح مهدي صالح بحصوله على 9.010 أصوات ومحمد إقبال عمر محمود عبد الله بحصوله على 11.096 صوتا.
    Aliwi, the disputed governor of Salahaddin is clearly among them, and I suspect the “Usama Tawfiq Abd al-Ghafur” from Salahaddin is also the “Usama al-Tikriti” you’re asking about. I suppose Samarraie was the winning “Ayad Salih Mahdi Salih” in Baghdad, but I can’t see Salim al-Jibburi anywhere.

  20. Xenophon said

    @ Steve Connors:

    “I agree with Reidar here that a Sadr/Allawi coalition is very possible (stopping short of probable) but for reasons of a shared nationalist agenda that’s strongly supported among Sadr’s base.”

    We throw around the word “nationalist a lot. Yes, one can describe both Sadr and Allawi as nationalists, but the nationalism of the former is expressed before all else in his condemnation of a US presence in Iraq. The nationalism of the latter is quite accepting of a US presence–after all, it’s the only way he got into power the first time–and is more concerned about Iran. How, in practice could these two very divergent “nationalisms” be reconciled. (It was “Sadr’s base” who killed large numbers of Sunnis in 2006-2008, let’s not forget.)

  21. Salah said

    “(It was “Sadr’s base” who killed large numbers of Sunnis in 2006-2008, let’s not forget.)”

    Although that statement may be have some truth but every Iraqi knew what’s went off with sectarians killing chaos statutes that past, let us not forgot the intermarriage between Iraqi with percentage up to 38%, sure there were some or many behind that plot, not just Srad’s specifically , you can add more to the list like Badar and other militias created and supported from out of the borders of Iraq also let not undermined many playing outsiders sides inside Iraq who have their list of killing the sectarians killing chaos statutes was perfect for more blood inside Iraq.

    Sradr’s the only one who tried many items reach to the other side asking reconciled, and give some support to his follow Iraqi one of the major one Fallujah mascara.

  22. zaid said

    Salim Al-Jubouri was a candidate in Diyala, where Tawafuq didn’t win any seats. That came as a surprise to many people as his extended family is very well established and connected there. I actually know Salim personally – he was considered to be one of the parliament’s only competent people, although he clearly had taken on too many responsibilities (deputy chairman of the parliament’s legal committee, tawafuq’s official spokesman, etc.). It’s a shame that he won’t be returning this time, but he should have known better than to associate himself with such a clearly sectarian party, and should have seen Tawafuq’s fall coming.

  23. Xenophon said

    Salah,

    Yes, I agree. Sadr was the only one to seriously attempt to reach across the Sunni-Shia divide and his efforts were never reciprocated. And of course, the large-scale killings of Sunnis was preceded by anti-Shia attacks. My comment was not intended to be particularly anti-Sadr (or anti-Sadrist) but to objectively question the assertion that “a Sadr-Allawi coalition is very possible.”

  24. @ Xenophon: Yes, they do seem to be somewhat divergent ideas of nationalism but that doesn’t mean they cannot live together. Sadr has also been opposed to the Iranian influence in Iraq but was forced into Tehran’s arms by the US attempts to arrest or kill him. His popularity with his following is based as much on his opposition to Iran as to the US occupation. Sadr has been quite consistent in his position so the real question there is how Allawi squares his own circle – especially given the direction of his own electoral alliances and support.

    Salah is correct about the confusion over who was responsible for the “sectarian” killing of 2006 onward. Yes, it was usually reported as being carried out by Sadr’s followers but there were many reasons to question that analysis and many reasons to look elsewhere for culprits; not least in the Iraqi Interior Ministry. I wrote about this at the time in comments on other blogs. Following is part of one of those comments was in this post on “Badger’s” excellent Missing Links blog. http://arablinks.blogspot.com/2008/06/asymmetric-politics.html

    ….More recently I attended an informal dinner here in DC in which the two Iraqi parliamentarians, brought to the US by the American Friends Service Committee, were in attendance. I seized the opportunity to question them on the allegations of sectarianism against Sadr – setting it up by speaking about the March tribal conference in Khadamiya, organized by Sadr. I wanted to know, first of all, how Sadr was able to overcome the widely accepted allegations that he and his organization are responsible for so much of the sectarian murder and mayhem of the last two years.

    Dr. Nadim al-Jaberi of the Fadhila Party chose to reply. He said that he knows MaS very well and knows him to be a patriot, a nationalist and a man of faith. Jaberi believed it unthinkable that Sadr would be involved but noted that the Mahdi Army was heavily infiltrated.

    By whom?, I wanted to know.

    By parties, he replied.

    Can you be more specific about that? I pressed.

    By Iraqi parties, he said.

    But which Iraqi parties? I wanted to know.

    He smiled patiently, like a man politely dealing with a dolt. “By your Iraqi friends,” he said.

    I later asked another journalist in the room what he thought of the reply. He thought it all sounded highly conspiratorial….

  25. Ali Wasati said

    Steve

    It well known fact that the Mahdi army acted alone on many occassions, Sadr was not able to control the militia he created, true many think that it was infiltrated by Baathist shias, but also many criminals and gangsters who took the law into their own hands when it came to sunnis.

    Many of them have suffered years under Saddam, and then followed by vicious attacks by sunni insurgents, so when Al-Askari mosque was bombed, it was too much for a lot of people.

    In the end he was forced to disband the Mahdi Army because they were full nasty elements, mainly criminals. I think it shows that it may not have been entirely Moqtada’s fault for the killings, however i would personally argue that he is for creating something that he could’nt control and he should have known better.

  26. Swopa said

    Sign me up with Xenophon as being skeptical about the feasibility of an Allawi-Sadr alliance.

    Regarding Reidar’s suggestion that Allawi might have “sheltered” Sadr during the Najaf conflict in 2004, the account of Muwaffaq al-Rubayie (who was the negotiator between the Allawi government and the Sadrists) is that after he briefed Allawi on a tentative settlement and arranged a meeting with Sadr to finalize the terms, the U.S. launched an attack on the location in order to kill or capture Sadr.

    The only way Allawi could have sheltered Sadr is if he tipped Rubaiye off to the impending attack — although Rubaiye doesn’t say this, and even then Allawi would at best have been playing both sides. In terms of protecting Sadr, that would seem like a weak claim compared to Sistani (who returned from medical treatment in London to end the standoff, then pushed to include the Sadrists in the UIA slate in 2005) and Iran (which has literally sheltered Sadr for the past couple of years).

    If the latter two push Sadr to essentially reunite the UIA (through a SLA/INA merger), I have a hard time imagining that it doesn’t eventually happen.

  27. Xenophon said

    @Steve Connors

    Steve,

    Thanks for the info–very interesting, though I must confess, I still think that divergent views of the US and its presence will constitute an insurmountable obstacle to a meaningful Sadr-Allawi partnership.

  28. Reidar Visser said

    Swopa, what I cited is the Iraqiyya version of the story. Rubayie, who was a non-winning candidate with INA this time, has previously presented eyebrow-raising interpretations of key events. Including, if I remember correctly, the idea that the “Muqtada” shouts that gave such a sectarian twist to the execution of Saddam Hussein were in fact the work of Baathist spies that had infiltrated the execution squad.

  29. Kermanshahi said

    Reidar, I made a list of the top 20 candidates with the most votes for all Iraq, some of them I know their name, some I don’t, I wonder if you know. I added the numbers of these candidates aswell (the number they had on the original list).

    1 Nouri al-Maliki State of Law/Dawa Baghdad 622,961
    2 Iyad Allawi Iraqiya/INA Baghdad 407,537
    3 Osama Abdul Aziz Mohammed Abdul Aziz nr.1 Iraqiya Ninawa 274.741
    4 Tariq al-Hashemi Iraqiya/Renewal List Baghdad 200,963
    5 Ibrahim al-Jaafari INA/Islah Baghdad 101,053
    6 Nawshirwan Mustafa Gorran List Silemani 93196
    7 رافع حياد جياد ذيبان Nr.1 Iraqiya Al-Anbar 83.145
    8 Mohammed Baqir Jabr nr.2 INA Baghdad 68,822
    9 Khaled Salam Said Sadiq nr.3 Kurdistan List Kirkuk 68,522
    10 Arshad Fathallah Rashad Abdul Razak nr.3 Iraqiya Kirkuk 59,732
    11 Ali Bapir KIG Arbil 50.116
    12 Hafiz Nazir Uzair Nazir KIU Silemani 46314
    13 Hamid Ahmed Adel Yazdin Kurdistani List Dahuk 45,989
    14 Azad, Zainal Abu Bakr Hamad Amin nr.7 Kurdistan List Arbil 45.385
    15 Ahmed Hassan Osman nr.5 Kurdistan List Arbil 44.660
    16 Bahaa Hussein Ali nr.2 Dhi Qar 42833
    17 Sabri Darwish Omar Aziz nr.23 Kurdistan List Arbil 41.346
    18 Mohammed Ali Mohammed Tamim nr.1 Iraqiya Kirkuk 40,537
    19 Uday Aazem Mahmoud Awad nr.1 NIA Basra 37.765
    20 Cafedin Mohammad Hakim Moussa nr.1 Sate of Law Basra 37.039

    Note how Abdel-Abdul Mahdi with a mere 30,473 votes came second in his own list, in Dhi Qar.

  30. Reidar Visser said

    Thanks for that Kermanshahi. So would these guys make a good government? On a more serious note and to answer your question, no. 3 is Nujayfi, no 7 Rafi al-Eisawi (deputy PM), 8 Bayan Solagh (min of finance, ex interior, ISCI/Badr), 16 Bahaa al-Aaraji (Sadrist), 18 is from Hiwar/Mutlak camp within Iraqiyya, 19 a Sadrist. That is as far as I can see all the “unidentified” ones.

  31. Gösta Grönroos said

    There are reports, or rumours perhaps, to the effect that al-Maliki is prepared to give up premiership in case of a SOL/INA merger. If that were to happen, then the reason for al-Maliki’s unwillingness to form a government with Iraqiya wasn’t the question of premiership, but more profound policy issues. A bit scary if 159 seats in the new parliament belong to sectarian, non-secular candidates. I doesn’t bode well for the future. As I have pointed out before, 49% for Shia islamists is actually more than what they got back in December 2005. I sincerely hope these speculations turn out to be wrong.

  32. Kermanshahi said

    BTW, in case you are interested I just found out about the division within’ the Kurdistan Alliance, the 42 seats are divided 26 for the KDP and 16 for the PUK, the other one is still undecided. Divisions per governorate (KDP-PUK), Arbil (8-2), Dahuk (8-1), Diyala (0-1), Kerkuk (2-4), Ninawa (6-2), Silemani (2-6).

  33. @ Ali: I believe the allegations of infiltration of the Mahdi Army was that it was being done by Badr rather than Baathist Shia, though I do agree that Sadr both lost control of significant elements of his militia and that crimes were also perpetrated in its name. The reality is that the situation at the time was terribly opaque and the types of attacks – car bombs and death squads – are notoriously difficult to pin down. Sadr was a convenient culprit for all involved.

    @ Xenophon: I see your point though a US withdrawal would certainly burnish Allawi’s credentials, don’t you think?

  34. Swopa said

    Reidar, I certainly don’t mean to vouch for Rubayie’s credibility in all matters, but his 2007 account of the incident does seem consistent with an August 2004 firefight in Najaf that was reported contemporaneously by Tom Lasseter of Knight Ridder (see link).

  35. Salah said

    o would these guys make a good government?

    The list of names include the drilling boy, Min. of Internal Affairs nurture chamber, The kidnapper of financial Software experts Peter Moore while installing monitoring program for the Min. Money transactions with other who are not very know ones for the last four years. These guys will counted their behaviours as expected.

    directly after the announcing the results Jalal Talabani, who has long cooperated with Iran, has travelled to Tehran to confer with Iranian Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader. With Talabani was a leader of ISCI religious party.

    If Talabani have not sparing time to be in Arab league meeting but two days he fly to Tehran to take orders this what these sort of some how called elected guys they will be in next government.

  36. Gösta Grönroos said

    Kermanshahi, thanks for the Kurdish figures. Anyone who could help with the internal INM figures?

  37. Zahra said

    I thought Al-Sadr’s call for a referendum on who should become next PM rather odd! Apparently, he said that Sadrists should go out and ask people who of the 5 suggested, or one other, candidate they would like to see as the next PM… errr isn’t that what the elections were for?

  38. Gösta Grönroos said

    Zahra, I find the reports on this confusing. Not clear whether the “referendum” concerns what position the Sadrists should take, or whether it really is a call for a referendum for which there is not ground in the constitution.

  39. Gösta Grönroos said

    Some kind of mix, according to NYT

    http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/03/31/world/international-us-iraq-election.html

  40. Zahra said

    Gosta, agreed, the way it was reported in the Iraqi media yesterday was very confusing. Today it is still unclear: it seems clear that the purpose is for whom the Sadr movement will back as PM, but it is not clear whether the referendum will only cover the opinions of Sadrists, or the whole of the Iraqi population. If it’s the former, I don’t know how they would distinguish between a Sadrist and non-sadrist, since I don’t think the movement has any kind of formal membership. If it’s the latter, I don’t understand how they think they have the capacity or resources to repeat the elections??

    Either way, the mechanisms highlighted in the article don’t seem to include any decent safeguards against repeated voting or anything you would expect would ensure that the result is accurate!

  41. Gösta Grönroos said

    Zahra, I agree. However, mightn’t we suspect the proposal by Muqtada to be a way of pressuring al-Maliki to give up premiership. The good thing, from my perspective, is that the merger talks seem to be crumbling.

  42. Mike Knights said

    Reidar,

    is there a breakdown anywhere that shows the relative internal balance of seats within State of Law? How strongly are SLA legislators tied to Maliki? Is there a successor? Could the SLA ever dump Maliki and select a new leader, particularly if Maliki became a roadblock to the formation of a new government?

    Cheers

    Mike

  43. Ali said

    Reider, who are the five “others” elected MPs in the Iraqi National Alliance (I’m guessing Ahmed Chalabi is one)

  44. Reidar Visser said

    Ali, the others are a representative of the Shaykhi community in Basra, Hasan al-Sari (“Hizbollah in Iraq”) in Maysan (pro-ISCI/Badr), someone independent I can’t remember in Najaf (sorry, I don’t have the lists here), Chalabi in Baghdad, plus the Wasit rep I don’t know for sure (would guess ISCI/Badr maybe?)

    Zahra, Gösta, I have commented on the Sadrist questions with some quotes from Sadrist sources under today’s post.

    Mike, I am afraid I don’t have something similar for SLA. I think part of the reason is simply that the counter-forces of SLA are less formidable in the case of INA, and that I think is also true with respect to INM, which many keep asking about.

    PS Ali, Qasim al-Aaraji in Wasit is indeed Badr, I have had that confirmed now, so their total increases by one.

  45. bb said

    I was going to ask the same question as Mike. All we ever seem to hear about are the Sadrists and ISCI.
    In any reconstituted UIA, Maliki would hold 89 seats to 73. That’s a 55% majority. A huge, huge turnaround from 2005.

    So who are SOL and how wedded are they to Maliki?

  46. bb said

    and also .. where does SOL come from? How many SOL elected candidates were members of the last COR? Are any of them previous members of ISCI/Badr or Sadrists? How is it that SOL has managed to turn ISCI/Badr into a rump?

  47. Reidar Visser said

    Bb, my reply, again, is that we don’t know enough about this, but also that this somewhat pathetic answer is in fact more interesting than it seems! For, it means the candidates that were elected on SLA are *not*primarily the people that were paraded by SLA as his wonderful cross-sectarian partners last autumn. They are either Daawa or relatively unknown, which in this situation is interesting in itself.

    The point can also be illustrated in arithmetic terms. If you look at the seat-winning INA candidates in Baghdad and exclude the official premier candidates (Jaafari and Solagh) you end up with an average of around 15,000 personal votes (very rough calculation). Now if you do the same exercise for INM and SLA (leaving out Allawi/Hashemi and Maliki/Sadr respectively) you get a much lower average, around 3,000. This is the point I am trying to make about less powerful centrifugal forces in those two alliances.

  48. bb said

    Thanks Reidar! To be quite honest I can’t follow your second paragraph! One tends to get out depth in these intra shia machinations however hard one tries!

    But getting back to State of Law. It didn’t come out of nowhere, Maliki having formed it before the provincial elections. Now I have a fair amount of practical experience of organising political paties at grass roots and I know that you don’t achieve the quite extraordinary results that SOL has without an extremely well funded, well organised and disciplined party apparatus. To go from 13 seats in the 2006 COR to 89 in the present one is unprecedented in my experience. Just about all of this has come from ISCI/Badr, and to me that means that either ISCI/Badr’s support was grossly inflated in the negotiations (Chalabi again) that set up the original SCIRI/Badr and that as soon as the individual components were electorally tested then Maliki’s branch of Dawa’s true support was revealed; or that something else has happened, I know not wot.

    I was interested to read – Wiki – that the political ideology of Dawa was based on wilayet-al-umma and this was eventually unacceptable to the Iranian regime because it did not place ultimate power with the clerics (ulema) – and hence the formation by Tehran of SCIRI (today INA). Reading about Dawa’s early days it seems to me it was revolutionary in origin and reminds me a little of the bolsheviks.

    Don’t want to divert you from concentrating on the immediate issues, but it would be fantastic if later you could research and write something substantial on the rise of State of Law when you have time to put your mind to it?

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