Iraq and Gulf Analysis

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

Iraq Closes Down for Eid al-Fitr

Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 8 September 2010 15:19

Starting tomorrow Thursday, business in Iraq is expected to grind to a complete halt until the middle of next week on account of the Eid al-Fitr festivities marking the end of Ramadan.

Pretty much in line with expectations, nothing truly significant has happened during the past month in terms of steps towards forming a new government. There has been a slight shift of emphasis in the media headlines as the secular Iraqiyya has finally begun realising what others have tried to suggest to them for some time: The Shiite-led INA was only joking during its supposed “rapprochement” with them, and probably never seriously considered accepting Ayad Allawi as premier, using the dialogue with Iraqiyya simply for leverage in its ongoing negotiations with others. Instead, both INA and the other Shiite-led list, Nuri al-Maliki’s SLA, now seem increasingly focused on winning the premier nomination within the framework of what is still only a theoretical construction: The pan-Shiite National Alliance (NA) that would combine both INA and SLA and claim the premiership on the basis of that post-election bloc – a procedure whose legality remains disputed as far as Iraqiyya is concerned.

It is however probable inadvisable to stop breathing while waiting for the outcome of the internal NA process, even though INA lately named Adel Abd al-Mahdi as its candidate to face off against Maliki. Just to give an indication of where we are right now, today’s headlines on this subject from Iraq involved one statement that “the NA does not have a timeline for selecting its premier candidate ” whereas the other emphasised that the modalities for selecting the premier candidate would be “set out in writing”, that is, if they are ever arrived at. A meeting after the Eid has been agreed on in principle but no date has been set.

What we know so far is that one proposal is that the decision be taken within the committee of “14 wise men”, also referred to sometimes as the “leadership committee” of the NA with a majority threshold at 9 votes. The distribution of votes within that committee is supposedly 7 for SLA (4 Daawa, 1 Daawa/Tanzim al-Iraq, 2 Independents) and 7 for INA (3 Sadrists, 2 ISCI/Badr, 1 Jaafari wing – some reports say this seat is “shared” with Chalabi’s INC, whatever that could mean – 1 Fadila). As far as the  reported composition of the committee is concerned, it is noteworthy that the SLA bench may look more coherent than the INA one and would only need two INA votes in order to win, but there have been some disputes lately concerning the exact status of Tareq Najm of the Daawa (and supposedly still in charge as director of Maliki’s office, although some say he has been granted sick leave), and moreover at least two of these SLA representatives (Sunayd and Adib) were loud advocates of joining INA back in August 2009. As for the INA contingent, probably the only votes that are safe from the point of view of Abd al-Mahdi are the 2 ISCI/Badr ones. The rest are probably up for sale, although it should not be excluded that the Sadrists might still be hoping for some kind of even more unknown compromise candidate to emerge and that their initial vote for Abd al-Mahdi was a wholly tactical one.

One of the few things the internal NA meeting agreed on though was that the previous ISCI proposal of entering parliament with more than one candidate is indeed unconstitutional and that option is therefore no longer on the table.

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46 Responses to “Iraq Closes Down for Eid al-Fitr”

  1. Jason said

    Nothing on but re-runs.

  2. Kermanshahi said

    Somehow I don’t see them just holding a vote and electing one of the two. If Abd al-Mahdi is elected, Maliki will definetly disagree, he might pull of the alliance or demand further negotiations, but I don’t believe that it’ll just be that easy (2 Dawa people joining the 7 INA in voting for Abd al-Mahdi). On the other hand if al-Maliki does win, we know ISCI doesn’t accept their defeat that easily (just look at the fuss they made in Najaf last year) and Sadr is unlikely to be happy either. In the end they’ll also, probably, try something else and since they’re still in negotiations with Allawi, they might aswell.

  3. Santana said

    This is viewed as the last chance for NA….I think Sunayd and Adib will jump in last minute just to keep NA going – and whether they burn bridges with Maliki or not isn’t really much of a deterrent …the bigger picture of a sectarian alliance leading gov formation is much more important to them (and to Iran)- and let’s be honest here-it’s all about the bigger picture. Besides- they will be heavily rewarded later in more ways than one.

  4. Reidar Visser said

    In which case there is an incentive for Iraqiyya to talk to Maliki… BUT I get the feeling SLA also think they can win the necessary two defectors from the other side – maybe the Sadrists, with or without a change in the SLA PM candidate?

  5. Santana said

    True- it could go that way too but I think it’s viewed by many on the 14 “wise-men” committee that Adel as PM will be a softer blow to Iraqiya when the fight begins on the legality of NA.

    I agree with you Reidar-The incentive for Iraqiya to talk to SoL is big – but really it has always been that way….just that Iraqiya would have to swallow some major “horse pills” to get a deal done after some of the demands they had at the last meeting.

  6. Jason said

    It is a circular exercise in futility. Selecting the committee members and procedures preordains selection of the PM. Neither side will be able to pack the committee to their satisfaction, just like last time, and it will never be formed.

    Besides, there is already an existing body that should rightfully choose the PM nominee: the duly elected MP’s of the blocks seeking to form a coalition. Why can’t Iraqis simply go ahead and do what is fair and just and right, and hold a vote?

  7. Mohammed said

    Unless Iraqiya is willing to let go of PM position, it is futile for Iraqiya to talk with either INA or SOL. Based on Allawi’s past performance as PM (based on who he put in charge of security/defense/intelligence) and how he stacked those ministries full of neo-baathists, it is simply unacceptable for SOL or INA to allow that to happen again. Allawi shot himself in the foot when during the latest elections, he stated he would make wholesale changes to the security/military. I can see Maliki giving them finance, oil, etc (where there is a shared vision), but nothing in the intelligence/security or military arena. Maliki seems to even object to the unconstitutional security council idea that America has floated.

    News reports have it that Iran has told qatar to send the message to saudi arabia that their candidate Allawi is a no-go.

  8. Jason said

    The same logical and just outcome would result if the full Parliament were forced to finally elect a President. INM, INA, and SLA presumably would each coalesce around a different candidate for President (one who would select their favorite to form a govt). INM’s candidate would win the first round, but SLA’s candidate would probably win the second round, and Maliki would be chosen to form the govt.

    Either way, INA will eventually have to get behind Maliki if they want to be part of the govt. He whipped them fair and square in an honest election. Otherwise, they deserve to go roam in the wilderness for four years. It is inevitable, and Maliki can afford to wait them out.

  9. Reidar Visser said

    “News reports have it that Iran has told qatar to send the message to saudi arabia that their candidate Allawi is a no-go.”

    If you forgive me, I would see that as an argument FOR Allawi… But as you know I agree that Iraqiyya should be brave and give the premiership to Maliki in exchange for oil, finance, foreign, speaker, presidency etc and not least the freedom from regional kings and tyrants.

  10. Santana said

    Jason may be correct cuz within 24 hours of the Qatari Emir’s meeting with Nejadi in Doha he was on a plane to Jeddah and met with King Abdullah…no one really knows what message he delivered but whatever it is, it can’t be good for Iraq- considering the source. As far as Reidar’s suggestion it might be the best alternative and I’m sure Iraqiya would have seriously considered it BUT as you all know-the Presidency is not on the table…. and in my opinion this is most likely what is jacking up that option….Talabani won’t give it up for the world …..

  11. Reidar Visser said

    But if Iraqiyya and SLA have the courage to unite it doesn’t matter what Talabani thinks about the issue since they don’t need the KA votes…

  12. Mohammed said

    For SOL + Iraqiya, would you propose that they merge into 1 kutla, or do they stay separate?

  13. Reidar Visser said

    One kutla, to allow for Maliki to be the PM candidate.

  14. Kermanshahi said

    Reidar, SLC and al-Iraqiyya got more seats, but INA’s got the better negotiator and they’ve been outsmarting them both. If we do get to a stage where Allawi and Maliki try to work out the kind of deal you describe, you don’t think the INA will just sit idle. They’d probably accept al-Maliki (or possibly Allawi) as PM to prevent such an alliance from forming. And the elections created a hostile atmosphere between Allawi and Maliki which makes them both prefer anyone else than each other, as alliance partner.
    However, that happening is still a very far prospect, currently the INM and SLC are not even in talks anymore and we know al-Iraqiyyas tough stand on the matter of the Prime Ministership belonging to them, as biggest bloc, that combined with the fact Allawi and Maliki don’t like each other. And Allawi can take it from ISCI, Sadr, Fadila, Jaafari, the Kurds, Tawafuq and anyone else who was part of a government led by Maliki, he’s basicly double-crossed everyone one of them (and enough times) + he’s succesfully managed to shove the blame of everythign which went wrong in the last 5 years on his coalition partners, while personally claiming credit for all good things the government did (which is why he did so well in the last 2 elections while all his coalition partners (except for the Kurds who were just cheated out of their seats) did badly).

    Jason, yes although I hate to admit it, al-Maliki did “whip them [INA] fair and square in an honest election,” and infact it would be best for most INA parties to go into the opposition for the next 4 years, it could do their popularity a lot of good. IMO, more than anything else, it’s being in the government constantly which made everyone fed up with them. However, leaving the country to an al-Maliki, Shahristani, Allawi, al-Mutlaq, al-Hashemi, al-Nujayfi, alliance for even just 4 years is very dangerous and it can (and probably will) be disasterous for the country. I don’t see any other option really, than for the INA to try lead, or at least try to get into, the next government.

  15. Salah said

    Reidar, we knew you don’t like this sort of talk, today in few media outlets there is talk that US & Iran backing Maliki for 2nd term as PM. What’s you view with is long nonsense game of guys they wasting time and you keep analysing this useless democracy.

    كشف قيادي في ائتلاف دولة القانون الذي يتزعمه رئيس الوزراء العراقي المنتهية ولايته نوري المالكي أن الأخير يحظى بدعم كل من الولايات المتحدة وإيران بعد مرور ستة أشهر على إجراء الانتخابات البرلمانية. يأتي هذا التطور فيما أعلن مرشح الائتلاف الوطني عادل عبد المهدي استعداده للتخلي عن ترشحه لرئاسة الحكومة إذا تحول تسميته للمنصب إلى عقبة تهدد العملية السياسية.

  16. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, I think it is still difficult to make sense of the Iranian position as far as individual candidates are concerned. I have always believed that the irreducible minimum of their demands is to keep a Shiite alliance united, and they may favour whatever candidate is prepared to make moves towards that goal. Conceivably, for that reason they may have sent some positive signals to Maliki lately, since his tendency to go it alone, apart from INA, has been their headache for the past year or so. They would probably feel safer with Abd al-Mahdi or a third, unknown “compromise” candidate and they probably want to check all the boxes just in case.

    As long as a government is formed on the basis of a Shiite alliance – NA – Iran will have achieved what it wants in Iraq and the US will have lost. It is therefore of course somewhat ironic that the Obama administration is also apparently pressing for the solution that Tehran prefers. The AFP story paraphrased by Al-Jazeera has a weak source base (for example, the most interesting claim of Iranian support for Maliki was probably that made by Ali al-Adib some days ago), but it is quite explicit when it comes to an alleged US preference for Maliki over Allawi.

    That brings me to the position of Iraqiyya. What I just don’t get is why some among them seem to think that an NA government headed by Abd al-Mahdi is now the least catastrophic scenario on the table if Allawi cannot get the premiership himself: Any scenario involving NA is a scenario controlled by Iran and with Iraqiyya just serving as decoration. But if they form a bloc together with Maliki and give him the premiership they would at least be a central part of the bloc that forms the government, INA would be excluded, Tehran would have failed to achieve its NA goal, and there would be a lot more for Iraqiyya in terms of positions, ministries and overall policy influence.

  17. Wlad said

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/09/07/what_america_left_behind_in_iraq?page=full

    What do you think about this article?

  18. Mohammed said

    Kermanshahi:

    Can you enlighten me on what is it exactly that al-Maliki has double crossed ISCI and Sadrists about?

    I just dont buy this issue that Iraqia prefers adel abdul mahdi because of the “trust” issue. Has al-Maliki been corrupt and stealing the wealth of the country for his own gain like Hazzam al-Shaalan did under Allawi or what? When there has been large scale corruption, Maliki has tried to act against it. He apparently even imprisoned his own son regarding some dealings that didnt seem on the up and up.

    Trust is built based on the leverage who have with your partner. You will trust him or her because he knows that the consequences of double crossing you would not be in his or her best interest.

  19. Reidar Visser said

    Wlad, where I agree with Nir Rosen is that the exclusion of Iraqiyya is likely to generate some kind of low-intensity warfare and an increasingly authoritarian system rather than a complete collapse of the Iraqi state. But it would also meen an immense strengthening of Iranian influence, and on this I disagree with him.

    Here is why: There is a big difference between Maliki becoming premier as an NA candidate and him becoming premier on the basis of an Iraqiyya-SLA deal – let’s just call it the Iraqi Alliance (IA) to poke fun of the decision by the NA leadership to exclude the ‘I’ from their acronym… If Maliki becomes PM for NA, then he will owe his nomination to Iran, Chalabi and the Sadrists (how can that American scenario of an NA *without* the Sadrists possibly come into existence in the real world when they will likely decide the internal NA nomination process?) Surely, if Iran can live with Maliki, it must be because they see him as weakened and more amenable under this kind of deal. Conversely, if he becomes PM for IA, without INA in government at all, he will be a lot more immune against Iranian pressures. Also, IA (180 deputies) will be in a lot better position than NA (159 deputies) to get a negotiation result with the Kurds that is good for Iraq as a whole, since they would be well above the 163 mark and therefore would enjoy a lot more leverage even if they should decide to make an attempt at including the Kurds in the deal.

  20. Wlad said

    Main goal of Rosen is to show Iraq is an US policy failure. That’s why there are some flaws in his analysis, but the details in the article are still interesting. Especially considering Sunni position, Turkish support for Iraqiyya and the fact that Iraqi Shia parties cannot be seen as 100% pro-Iran.

  21. Reidar,
    The thought of Maliki as the next PM for a short time is tolerable, but him as the incumbent for the next elections is unthinkable. Abd Al Mahdi as an incumbent is less objectionable. That’s my personal reading.

  22. Reidar Visser said

    Faisal, you mean Abd al-Mahdi at the head of an NA government is better than Maliki leading an Iraqiyya-SLA government?

  23. Jason said

    Yes, Rosen presents a good analysis of many facts, but then obviously allows personal bias to bleed through in his ultimate conclusions. I definitely believe there is still opportunity for Iraq to become a leader in the ME.

  24. Reidar, I am not sure I agree with the way you phrased your question, its a mix with Iraqiya in both cases, Iraqiya is bigger in proportion when partnering with INA which has to accept less positions if the PM is from them. Maliki proved to be a bad loser; he did not accept the election results. INA accepted its lower support and kept on negotiating, so did Iraqiya.

  25. Reidar Visser said

    And I certainly reject your rejection of it… How can Iraqiyya possibly get more influence in a government led by NA and also probably including the Kurds as the core of the government than in a straightforward, bilateral pact between Iraqiyya and SLA, with no others involved (or if need be, with the Kurds coming to the table after the deal between Iraqiyya and SLA has been cut)? We are not talking about an INA-led government here, it’s an NA-Kurdish-led one!

  26. Mohammed said

    Faisal:

    Maliki held free and fair elections (although I disagree with the debaathifaction problem, which was started and cheered on by INA, not SOL, and then Maliki got on that bandwagon)..But, I dont understand whay you mean about Maliki not accepting the election results..SOL is negotiating just like the rest. The election results are clear and plain for everybody to see. Iraqiya got the largest block, but it is not enough to get a majority. Maliki has not done anything unconstitutional. If Iraqiya wants to be nominated to form the government, then they need to get a majority of the government to support a president who will nominate them, Maliki does not have to do that for them. The problem is that Iraqiya cannot, because nobody wants Allawi’s allies holding the levers of power since they have made their opinions known about Baathism. All I understand from you is that you dont like Maliki, and you like Allawi. Please shed some light on the basis of your arguments.

  27. Santana said

    Faisal-

    I must agree with Reidar that Iraqiya comes out WAY better in a deal with SoL …no comparison whatsoever…in a deal between Iraqiya and INA the dilution of power renders the new government useless and very weak. Problem is who can convince Allawi to accept Maliki as PM?

    A Pentagon official told me recently when I asked him why they want Maliki again and he just shrugged his shoulders and said “He’s the default candidate”….

  28. Reidar,
    The Kurds will be included afterwards either way, your argument is equally valid with both INA and SOL. You say:
    “We are not talking about an INA-led government here, it’s an NA-Kurdish-led one!”
    True, NA-Kurdish axis could lead to a balance in favor of federal policy, but passing of any laws are subject to a parliament that is overwhelmingly centralist, and subject to a government with more Iraqiya ministers than any.

    Mohammed,
    “Maliki has not done anything unconstitutional”
    Maliki extracted a Supreme Court interpretation regarding the interpretation of Kutla after the fact, he and his supporters claim it was “constitutional”. Obviously you agree. My view is that any judgment in the context of an election should not be retroactive. If the interpretation is admitted then there will be admission of retroactive validity of the law and there will not be a political process. It was Maliki, not INA, who went to the Supreme court. I explained it before.

    Santana,
    Politically you and Reidar are correct, Iraqiya is better off agreeing with SOL. Practically, Maliki showed his true colors: He does not play by the rules. I am not saying INA will play by the rules but Maliki has a siege mentality. What I am saying is that I prefer an enemy I can predict to a friend I can’t.

  29. Santana said

    Salah-

    I am picking the lesser of two evils….I think with INA – Iraqiya would get less Ministries and positions – the Sadrists will insist on the Defense or Interior Ministry which in itself is a disaster for Iraq (and the USA) from a security standpoint….would you want JAM backed by one of those Ministries? Can you imagine what would happen if Iran or Al-Qaeda blew up a Shiite shrine?? Jam will hit the streets and go back to the days of going house to house and killing people.

    Anyway- I am still very worried that the NA thing is going to be formed soon because this is what Iran wants and in the absence of any major support for the seculars then who is going to stop it from happening ?

  30. Santana,
    I guess you are calling me Salah!
    The NA can succeed in forming the government in two ways: Either by following the Supreme Court’s interpretation or by letting Iraqiya start with 30 days trial, and there is a world of difference between the two. If NA chose the former then they have to face not only Iraqiya but the international community. I don’t agree that the risk of sectarian confrontation is decisive, I think the economic factor is stronger. I think the Iraqi government will have only Iran’s backing, and Iran simply cannot afford to back its allies. If NA chose the latter then it depend on who is its candidate, if it is Maliki then he will probably lose, if Abdul Mahdi then a compromise is possible.

  31. Reidar Visser said

    Faisal, much as I have sympathy for the desire to avoid the NA (although I think it is the sectarian nature of the project that is disastrous whereas the legal picture is far from clear), I must ask you something we have touched on before: Who/what is that “international community” that will overrule the Iraqi federal supreme court?

  32. Santana said

    Faisal-

    No- my comment was in response to Salah’s comment to me just above it….however I do appreciate your input and -like Reidar- am curious to know who you are referring to as far as a “International community”?

  33. Reidar, Santana,
    The international community are all countries who could help Iraq, particularly economically, who will think again before extending a cooperative hand to a regime heading to dictatorship and partnering with Iran. As for the “What will overrule Iraqi federal supreme court, only a UN Security Council resolution can. This is old. Surely Reidar, you know where I stand on this point?

  34. Reidar Visser said

    Faisal, as said before, I know about no member of the Security Council that would support a move to overrule the supreme court ruling. As I have asked on so many occasions before, What did the UNSC do to stop the de-Baathification revival when it went out of control? What did they do at that meeting last August when the Iraqi press was full of rumours about some kind of intervention?? As of today, the UNSC is unlikely to do anything on Iraq that the Obama administration does not push for.

    I hate to say this, but I think the following ideas all belong to the same category of unrealistic castles in the air: The UNSC will intervene; the USG will change its policy after 2 Nov; the Sadrists will accept Allawi; ISCI will accept Allawi; Syria will install Allawi on the basis of a Ta’if-style deal.

    I think all of the above are just ideas concocted by the pan-Arab press in lieu of anything more interesting to write about. But they serve to distract an alarmingly high number of Iraqiyya supporters and continue to discourage them from turning to more realistic alternatives, like serious talks with Maliki.

  35. Salah said

    Here we got one of Maliki advisor she works with a group of advisor to PM Maliki she talking in this very sectarian manner:

    “ان المالكي لم يخطأ عندما قال ان العراقية تمثل مكون معين فنحن شانا ام ابينا فان العراقية تمثل المكون السني “.

    النائبة حنان الفتلاوي : العراقية مكون سني شئنا أم أبينا


    الكتل البرلمانية والاوساط السياسية في العراق ترفض تصريحات حنان الفتلاوي

  36. Santana said

    Reidar-

    When you say “they serve to distract an alarmingly high number of Iraqiyya supporters and continue to discourage them from turning to more realistic alternatives, like serious talks with Maliki” you do realize that the only way this is gonna go thru is Allawi giving up the Premiership to Maliki, accepting all the illegal de-baathification plans, keeping all the dictatorial powers of the PM intact, no Presidency option…..etc…. and some other “horse-pills” that Iraqiya has to swallow or that SoL threw in their last meeting with Iraqiya….BUT still when I consider the other options Iraqiya has I find that this is still a less poisonus drink…..sad situation indeed….Allawi is in one helluva position right now cuz EVEN if he decides to take that drink with SoL…. there is still that strong possibility next week that Sunayd and Adib become Kingmakers and get the 9 votes needed for Adel to win- NA hijacks gov formation and Tehran celebrates bigtime.

  37. Reidar Visser said

    I think together, Allawi and Maliki can rise above de-Baathification since SLA has more ex-Baathists in its own ranks than INA (as the cases of Abbud al-Eisawi and others showed). Nor would I worry much about the presidency of the national security council which always seemed to me somewhat contrived. Would Gore have accepted chairmanship of the NSC in 2000 instead of going to court? Instead I think Iraqiyya should focus on the overall influence that would come from control of key ministries in a reasonably-sized government free from regional control, and the far better position to do meaningful negotiations with the Kurds that an Iraqiyya-SLA alliance implies.

  38. Mohammed said

    Hi Reidar:

    According to the NY Time piece (I see that they interviewed you!), I think Allawi and Iraqiya’s real concerns stem over having some control over the security/intelligence ministries, thus they seem more interested in getting a hold of the defense or interior ministry instead of finance or oil.

    Can you give some insight as to why are they so focused on security when they should realize that SOL and INA cannot trust them with those ministries? Are they just going in circles?

  39. Reidar Visser said

    Yeah, when I was in touch with Shadid I got the impression that the USG were still very interested in the scenario of having INA “inside the tent” but in the article it looks as if they are describing a scenario of SLA/Iraqiyya/KA which I think is less bad, especially if it is based on SLA/Iraqiyya forming a bloc. I’ll e-mail Shadid again and see if he can clarify this.

    As for the security ministries, I think this goes back to the distinction I described earlier between an armistice-oriented government and one focused on governance. Of course, the whole mythology around Maliki as “too strong” is built on the idea that he needs to be somehow checked, hence the Iraqiyya interest in that sector. As we have discussed before, I think this means just kicking the ball further down the road (or not even that) and it would be better to build on areas where there is trust and common ideas such as oil and finance. But that kind of changed approach probably only comes when you abandon the idea of an oversized government and instead start trying to build a smaller, coherent one.

  40. Reidar,
    Thank you for the opportunity to respond, I have strong conviction and will never get tired of promoting UNCEI.
    You described several ways and times the UNSC could intervene in Iraq, I call for an intervention that is different from all of the above, carefully calibrated to address the process of democracy, not to side with one party or another, not to infringe upon sovereignty of the state over its own citizens and with minimum anticipated cost and intrusion.
    I think you misunderstood me. I don’t call for a UNSC response to a single event, I don’t expect it and don’t believe it should come, whether to stop debaathification, install Allawi, force a new government or to over-ride an existing Supreme Court interpretation. I call for UN supervision over census and elections in response to rising threat to regional security. The possible over-riding of state authority should be strictly limited to a pre-defined UN mandate and be bound by the constitution of Iraq. There is no cavalry coming to the rescue here. The idea is not entirely original, Russia and France called for UN supervision over Iraqi elections in 2003, news reports at the time suggested that Russia gave up on this idea after the US agreed to stop criticizing Russia for its actions in Chechnya. I want to add something I have reason to believe is not a rumor. It is said that Saddam sent six sets of CD’s to agencies of the UN prior to 2003, the CD’s containing full population census data, Saddam found out that the Neocons’ plan included avoiding census. I am saying that the US intended to avoid census even before Bremer postponed it in 2004 due to “security” reasons. The planned census in October is facing problems in Kirkuk. There is no fig leaf wide enough to cover the US responsibility for bad census in Iraq. I believe that the US shares the responsibility for valid census and fair and transparent elections with the Iraqi government whose mandate has expired. Once more, I call upon the US to adopt a UNSC resolution in order to run census and elections in Iraq.

  41. Salah said

    Would Gore have accepted chairmanship of the NSC in 2000 instead of going to court?

    Let see who who is Iraqi Gore today:

    Allawi: This is democracy. And because of the fact that electoral alliances are formed in Iraq even after the election, and the fact that al-Maliki’s list succeeded in pushing for a recount of the votes, we lost three precious months of time.

  42. Kermanshahi said

    Reidar, I agree, having a SLC/INM/CKL alliance would be better than a complete “unity government,” however, it will be very difficult to get the Kurds and [some elements of] al-Iraqiyya to work together.

  43. Ali M said

    Reidar, Tariq Najem was fired by Maliki and is now back in London.

  44. Santana said

    Has anyone seen this ? Interesting- however some inaccuracies in there….like secrets about the SFA agreement…not true…the agreement is very transparent with no secrets as far as I know.

    http://batnaya.net/forum/showthread.php?t=66507

  45. Reidar Visser said

    Seems to me a little on the wild side this one. It has all the typical pan-Arab newspaper story features with a tour d’horizon of all the regional entanglements, everyone has a finger in the pie, the US and the Israelis are all-powerful, and there is one single logic governing everything, plus lots of secrecy.

    Also the narrative of Allawi and Sadr as the Arab heroes resisting the machinations of all the others in an American-Israeli-Iranian conspiracy seems a little strained to me. There may well be some truth to Maliki’s desire to reach out to Mutlak, but I would be surprised if the regional processes involved are quite as sophisticated as those outlined here. I’m left with the impression that this has been written by an Allawi supporter who got seriously bored with Ramadan!

  46. Santana said

    I agree Reidar- but the report is entertaining while nothing is happening. Talabani has called for COR to convene again this week but -as usual- it doesn’t seem like anyone takes him seriously.I read that Kinani is threatening armed resistence if the Sadrists are marginilized.

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