Iraq and Gulf Analysis

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

The Arbil Agreement Versus Daawa Authoritarianism

Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:28

After the airport hold-ups, the arrest warrants and the bombs, the political turmoil in Iraq is now beginning to produce political statements focused on competing visions for the future of the country.

In an op-ed in The New York Times today, Iraqiyya leaders Ayyad Allawi, Usama al-Nujayfi and Rafi al-Eisawi bemoan increasingly authoritarian tendencies in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s second government. The accusations against Maliki include overreach with respect to his attempts to control the security ministries as well as manipulation of the Iraqi judiciary for political ends. The cure, as the Iraqiyya leaders see it, is implementation of the shadowy Arbil framework that prepared the ground for the formation of the second Maliki government in November 2010.

For his part, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has also used the opportunity to reiterate his own vision of Iraq. Basically, he is saying that the Arbil agreement contains many unconstitutional provisions regarding power-sharing and that the constitution must prevail. In more practical terms, he is saying that if ministers from Iraqiyya are unhappy with his current approach he is prepared to replace them by acting ministers without pausing for parliamentary approval.

Both Iraqiyya and Maliki have ended up with rather strained arguments. In their NYT op-ed, Allawi et al. say they represent a non-sectarian Iraq, and yet the Arbil agreement is in fact a very clear step towards greater formal sectarianism in Iraq, including calls for ethno-sectarian “balances” in the institutions of the state. Maliki is technically correct in deeming large parts of the agreement unconstitutional. On the whole, the Arbil agreement implied Iraqiyya moving extremely far in a pro-Kurdish, anti-centralist direction as soon as they realised that they themselves would not control the premiership.

But Maliki, too, is on thin ice with his revived “constitutionalism” argument. It is true that the constitution posits a prime minister that is relatively strong vis-à-vis his other colleagues in the executive, and more so after the veto powers of the transitional presidency council came to an end in late 2010. However, Maliki seems to forget that vertically speaking , the same constitution also delegates an incredible amount of power to both governorates and federal regions. It could well be argued that Maliki’s way of centralising power towards the governorates south of Kurdistan is as unconstitutional as the Arbil agreement.

Alas, Iraqiyya leaders are probably likely to go on insisting on the implementation of the Arbil agreement. (Not that it matters much anymore, but so will probably the United States.) This is likely to be a frustrated uphill struggle for several reasons. Many of the provisions of the agreement depend upon the passage of additional legislation in parliament, and some of this should arguably be approved in popular referendums since the provisions are unconstitutional in their present shape. Even if it were successful, the Arbil agreement would lead to a fragmented state with ever greater focus on ethno-sectarian identities, i.e. the opposite of what Iraqiyya traditionally stands for. There are signs that at times, even Iran sees this scenario as preferable to an overly dominant Maliki.

With respect to Maliki’s vision of a strongman ruler that speaks a nationalist language, it is pretty much a Shiite version of Saddam Hussein. This in itself may be more in tune with Iraqi tradition than Western observers are prepared to admit; however the question is whether Maliki will be able to implement it in practice. So far he has emulated Saddam strategies with respect to using tribal powers in areas dominated by the opposite sect (the Sunni-dominated Baath carefully built ties to the tribes in the Shiite south). To some extent, he can probably also depend on the fact that many Kurds and Shiites that are flirting with Iraqiyya these days will likely revert to bilateral dealmaking with him if matters should truly come to a head. 

More significantly, perhaps, at yesterday’s cabinet meeting, the presence of three ministers of Iraqiyya (which is supposedly boycotting these meetings) was celebrated by members of Maliki’s coalition. Those present were reportedly the electricity minister Abd al-Karim Aftan al-Jumayli, Izz al-Din al-Dawla and Abd al-Karim al-Samarraie. It is noteworthy that Dawla and Samarraie are from the Iraqiyya factions of Usama al-Nujayfi (Iraqiyyun) and Tareq al-Hashemi (Tajdid) respectively.

This may well represent Maliki’s game plan: To break Iraqiyya and co-opt a limited number of their ministers into a revamped cabinet. So far, his successes in this respect have been only modest: It is noteworthy that Allawi, Eisawi and Nujayfi collectively signed the NYT op-ed today despite persistent rumours about internal wrangling in Iraqiyya. Today, symbolically, while everyone agrees on the need for an urgent “national conference”, the Maliki camp wants it to go ahead in Baghdad, with others including Iraqiyya preferring Kurdistan as summit location.

If Maliki wants to build something sustainable, he will have to be honest with his own “constitutionalism” and admit that the constitution needs fixing if he wants a centralised form of government south of Kurdistan. Recent anti-federalism statements from Sunni politicians in Mosul suggest there is still a Sunni audience for this kind of message. Re-visiting these issues through the creation of a new constitutional review committee may have a more liberating effect on Iraqi politics than reverting to the stalemates associated with the Arbil framework.

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57 Responses to “The Arbil Agreement Versus Daawa Authoritarianism”

  1. The article is an appeal to the US for participation and to somehow influence the agenda of the negotiations with “the Erbil agreement as a starting point.” Contrary to that is an Iranian written agenda for the negotiations which is being brokered by Talbani.
    Reidar, you criticized the Erbil agreement but didn’t suggest a starting point for the negotiations other than the need for fixing the constitution. Even at this high level of vagueness your suggestion could alienate the Kurds. The Erbil agreement is what we have right now. We don’t have fixing the constitution or another new committee.

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Faisal, Iraqiyya have been non-alienating the Kurds for more than a year now, and exactly what wonderful results has this policy produced?

  3. observer said

    Reidar,
    Good luck with your appeals to Maliki (or his advisors). I will repeat – what we have is what we have and theoretical solutions aside, we have to deal with the reality of the situation at hand. Maliki (for whatever reason) decided to escalate (maybe fearing that the others will unite against him or maybe it is true that he can not survive without drama). We have a stalemate. It is a matter who will blink first. I can tell you first hand that Maliki’s hand is not very strong as even Iranians (at least privately) are expressing their weariness of the timing. The Kurds and Iraqia know very well that Maliki can (and would) declare an end to constitutional rule (which of course wills tart a wat of sorts). Maliki is playing a a bluff hand (everybody knows that his hand is not as strong as he thinks, but maybe he is counting on the US and Iran coming in at the last minute and saving his behind one more time – who knows!). Therefore, the only “realistic” out is to go back to the Irabil agreement and implement it. Strangely/gladly that would be totally against what Maliki presumably wanted to accomplish when he escalated in the first place, and hence his “reluctance” to come to Irbil.

    Oen more thing Reidar. You always claim that Iraqia is agains federation which is not true. What they beleive in is a Kurdish/Arab federation, with a decentralized services system. That is not so radical – is it?
    Peace.

  4. Santana said

    Reidar,

    Now is the true test as far as the Kurds go and whether anything good will come out of it….you are correct- it”s been a year of reaching out in trying to build ties with the Kurds and their stand against Maliki in the Hashimi issue has shown some promise that they are changing for the better….so I wouldn’t write em off just yet….The next few weeks will be critical in assessing whether it really was a waste of time reaching out to them or not.It has taken them a year to be fully convinced what a back-stabbing,Sectarian, unpredictable and volatile person Maliki really is and that they are his next target.

  5. Reidar Visser said

    Observer, with all possible respect, I challenge you to quote something that I have written that would indicate that I believe Iraqiyya supports rolling back federalism in Kurdistan! What I criticise them for is failing to take a crystal clear position against federalism in the rest of Iraq. And I mean before the developments of the latest months.

    And re Maliki: If Iran is sceptical, it could mean he is doing something good for Iraq despite everything…

  6. Santana said

    Interesting peice by Mohamed Ayoob

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/28/opinion/ayoob-iran-iraq-sectarian-strife/index.html?section=cnn_latest

  7. Reidar Visser said

    Re Ayyoob, I just don’t buy the argument that Iran is so terrified about a little bit of territorial fragmentation in Iraq. This is a truism in some think-tank circles in DC but I have never seen anything convincing to back it up. Iran would have been far more actively engaged against federalism if it were true.

    I really think the anti-federalism of Maliki is Malikism first and foremost. And it still resonates with many Iraqis, including some Sunnis. If he were brave, he would have given Diyala and Salahaddin their referendums and then tried to win the debate over federalism in an honest, democratic way. It is not inconceivable that he could have prevailed.

  8. Mohammed said

    Dear All:

    I may disagree with Santana on many aspects of the current mess in Iraq, but one thing I agree with on is that Iran certainly does not want what is best for Iraq. Thus, Reidar’s point about Iran going against Maliki in the current stand-off may in fact be a reason to think that al-Maliki is actually doing something to benefit Iraq. Reidar I applaud you for being such a fair political scientist. Reidar has been quite critical every time al-Maliki has veered away from lawful constitutional processes, and resorted to strongman-tactics or sectarianism.

    I share Reidar’s skepticism of the Erbil agreement. It is not a formula for success in Iraq, not to mention that it is completely unconstitutional. If the Erbil agreement requires a constitutional amendment, then it stands virtually no chance of passing. If Allawi feels that he is entitled to such a position as defined by the Erbil agreement solely on the fact Iraqiya won a couple more seats than SOL, for the sake of Iraq, I think he should just give it up. The fact of the matter is that if al-Maliki did what Iran wanted him to do in the first place and join the national alliance prior to the elections, then the national alliance would have won far more seats than Iraqiya by a huge margin, and a purely sectarian majority government would have emerged without any controversy. Al-Maliki’s calculations were off, and we had the post-election debacle.

    We have the hands that we have been dealt as Observer states, and the question is how to make the best out of them. Iraqiya is fearing that al-Maliki is turning into a dictator. If Allawi views the Erbil agreements as a means of preventing and or checking tyrannical tendencies (and not a means to Allawi getting power), then there are other constitutional amendments or “Erbil-like” agreements that should be considered. The simplest proposal is the concept of term-limits! In fact, al-Maliki once publicly alluded to agreeing not to run again. George Washington was wise centuries ahead of his time. Term limits are a very effective method of limiting a leader’s ability for establishing himself as a tyrant. People who work under al-Maliki will then realize that he is not always going to be around, and will be hesitant to pursue corrupt practices knowing that the protection will not be there down the road.

    Why term-limits for the PM were never put in the constitution is beyond me.

    Observer, you stated: “Maliki’s hand is not very strong.” You can’t have it both ways. Which is it? On one hand I hear Iraqiya saying that al-Maliki is drunk with power, and on the other you are saying he does not have a strong hand.

    Maliki is not the ideal leader for Iraq. I agree with you Observer that Maliki is certainly not a statesman. The solution is not to have chaos in Iraq with two separate offices (PM and Allawi’s theoretical national council) competing for power. The solution is for Iraqiya and Maliki to agree to a few things and keep Iraq calm:

    Here is a simple 5 point plan:
    1) Term limits – Iraqiya should be on the forefront of this everyday in the newspapers and talk shows demanding for term limits. I am sure it would resonate with all the Iraqi people irrespective of sect. I don’t see how al-Maliki could refuse this without looking like a total tyrant. Get him to publicly agree and sign on to term-limits, and also get a term limit amendment in the constitution
    2) Decentralize certain aspects to the provinces like (education, healthcare, agriculture, police). Again, why would al-Maliki refuse this? In exchange, Iraqiya would convince the provinces to call off their bids for federal regions.
    3) Have the security ministers (Defense and Interior) nominated not by Iraqiya or SOL, but rather a joint committee from parliament that includes MPs from Iraqiya, National Alliance, and Kurds
    4) Let Tariq al-Hashemi and body guards be tried in Kurdistan (but with a special court that includes not just a Kurdish judge, but a total of 3 judges (or maybe 5) with a national prosecutor selected by the federal government, and al-Hashemi can select his own defense attorney.
    5) Iraqiya should forget about the national security policy council or at least agree that it has a purely advisory role.

    This simple 5 point plan has aspects that would be tough for Maliki to except but not impossible including points 1, 2, and 4. Iraqiya will have to accept 3, and 5.

    As I see it, Iraqiya has harped on two main points:
    a) Power-sharing. Well by decentralizing some parts of government to the provinces, that caters to that concern. And frankly, Iraqiya already had substantial non-security ministries at the federal level.
    b) Security sharing. Iraqiya has been worried that al-Maliki could become a tyrant by having too much control over the security ministries. By having term-limits, tyranny is much more difficult to achieve.

    Maliki wins from such an agreement is that he gets Iraqiya to concede the national security council and naming the defense minister, and people stop asking for federal regions.

    Do you guys think Iraqiya and SOL would agree to this, why or why not?

    Regards,
    M

  9. Salah said

    Reidar

    Not Just Iran interest to have weakened Iraq, Saudis also Kuwaitis and other neighbours each of them have his own reasons and interests to keep Iraq fragmented and weakened.

  10. Reidar,
    My comment #33 in your post dtd Dec. 21 resonates with Moh’d Ayoub’s arguments: That Maliki’s strategy is different from Iran’s and whether Iran will be able to reign him in. I don’t think it is about territorial fragmentation per se, it is about the strategy, timing and the scale of upheaval planned by Maliki.
    However, I also find the notion of Iran defending the integrity of Iraq in the eyes of “some think-tank circles in DC” humorous.

  11. Salah said

    Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has also used the opportunity to reiterate his own vision of Iraq

    المالكي يستجوب أربعة ضباط كبار إجتمعوا مع الجنرال بتراويس دون علمه
    ويفشل في استدعاء الفريق زيباري

    الفرقاء موحان الفريجي واحمد هاشم عودة وعبود قنبر وعلي غيدان يقسمون يمين الولاء للمالكي ويتعهدون في الوفاء له والدفاع عنه

    http://alnahdah.net/NewsDetails.aspx?ID=2126

    وما أدراكم من هو نوري المالكي؟

    http://alnahdah.net/NewsDetails.aspx?ID=2098

  12. observer said

    Reidar,
    what is there to “challenge”. regarding your position vis-a-vis federation? I am arguing with your stated position regarding Iraqia’s stance on federation which you stated on more than one occasion as “change in the historic position of Iraqia”. What I am stating is that Iraqia did no change its position on federation of Kurds vs Arabs. What has happened recently is a clarification of Iraqia on decentralization (as opposed to the continued hegemony of Baghdad). It has nothing to do with your stated position rather you characterization of Iraqia as changed position – which it isnt’.
    peace

  13. observer said

    M,
    You can be skeptical all you want about Irbil agreement, but it is the basis upon which the agreement to let Maliki stay was based. It is interesting that you want to give him a “pass” for reneging on an agreement under constitutional argument, but do not want to call into question the political/judicial decision that let Maliki over turn the results of a democratic elections. You are trying to have it both ways, if you ask me – but you are not. By the way, the Irbil agreement does not need a constitutional amendment as you (or riedar claim) it requires good will from politicians who supposedly fear God more than anything else to abide by agreements they got into with their own free will. But in the land where laws are just ink on paper, what is the guarantee that you want to give that even if a constitutional amendments in written it will be obeyed?

    M – you are re-write history. The negotiations inside the she3a camp where based on Da3wa’ assumption that the elections would be based on closed lists and thus they demanded that they get 50% +1 of the seats. The rest gave them up to 48% but that was not good enough for Da3wa as they wantd Maliki, while the rest had agreed that it is “somebody’s” else turn (be it Mahdi, Juber, Chalabi, etc, was not decided). That is why Maliki and Da3wa ran alone on SOL with the lip service to “post-sectarian” politics. Too bad the game plan changed to an open list system. Had Da3wa known this, they would have gladly accepted the 48% and the rest would be history and they would not have had to “push the court around” or muddy the waters. So please modify your conclusions about Da3wa and Maliki according to the above, not the hypothetical’s (or your version of history) that you presented.

    On Maliki’s third term. He promised that before. And I will bet with you a thousand dollars to a thousand donuts that he is not going to deliver on that promise either and he will run a third time because he is Al Qaaid AL Dharoura of his days. I read a very interesting quote today from Marx – “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as a farce” (he was referring to Napoleon I and his nephew the III)….

    On Maliki’s strength calculations – by himself, he is weak, but when he combines the US and Iranian support, the matter is different entirely. That is why I am always pozzeled as to HOW COME the White House and Qum are in support of Maliki. What is going on that I am missing. Even today, you hear DOS making statements that Maliki is not influenced by Iran. I really would like to have some of the stuff they are smoking in the Green Zone. It might make me see the world with rose colored glasses too.

    On your “plan”. Sure, come to Iraq, get your hands dirty and convince the powers that be of your vision. My 2 cents worth is that there is simply no trust to work out any agreement between Iraqia and Da3wa. It is over and will not happen. Too much blood under that “bridge”. You remind me of me some 15 years ago. Full of idealistic notions about the political figures that were fighting Saddam. Let me just say that I admire the idealism (been there, done that). Life is dirty though and these guys are not statesmen. They are third grade politicians, not even fit to lead a student union at a public university. Alas, that is what we got.

    Peace

  14. Santana said

    Mohamed-

    It’s nice to read that you agree with me on something for a change- as far as your 5 point plan- I see numerous issues and obstacles that would surface….first off Maliki will not agree to term limits (not while he is PM)he thinks of himself as Sallah Eldin Al-Ayoubi right now , has a huge ego and his Daawa party is the most corrupt bunch on earth- they make the Nigerians look like 7 year old shoplifters…so the end of Maliki’s term means the milking of Iraq over for them and they wanna make Forbe’s list of billionaires..# 2 is do-able and he probably would agree to it…as far as the security Ministers -this must be handled the same way all the other Ministers were appointed- otherwise everyone has to go thru the process you suggested. # 4 is good for the most part but anyone that the Federal government picks will be a Maliki puppet totally so there goes your fair trial.#5-the Council- why should Iraqiya give up on it for free ? what has Maliki given up on since he stole the Premiership ? he just takes and expects everybody to always compromise…

    Iraq is run by people wearing black shoes and white socks with “joo3 qadeem” and intense hatred….so trying to build a modern Iraq with these guys is virtually impossible ! They should thank America and President Bush every minute of the day for the rest of their lives… cuz without the U.S invasion they wouldn’t have a snowball chance in hell of being where they are now.

  15. Reidar Visser said

    Observer, my comments on Iraqiyya changing position had nothing to do with federalism for Kurdistan per se but the way Iraqiyya supported the Kurdish draft oil law in August on specific clauses that gave regional entities more power in signing oil deals and reduced the role of the oil ministry. This is clearly at variance of the traditional stand of Iraqiyya.

    Unsurprisingsly, there is a State of Law website commentary on the Iraqiyya op-ed today, with the predictable strictures and bells and whistles:

    http://qanon302.net/news/news.php?action=view&id=11023

    But Iraqiyya might as well get used to this sovereignty and constitutionalism discourse right away (they criticise the calls for “American intervention”) because it is a theme to which Maliki is likely to revert.

  16. observer said

    Dear Reidar,
    The oil law debate was the method chosen to move the debate last summer as Maliki was acting (and correctly) as if time is on his side and be delaying any and all decisions, he would get to make the choices himself. You indicated on more than one occasion that the version of Adnan Janabi that he managed to move through his committee is more or less the same version of Shehristani except the decision is moved from PM hand to Parliament. Is that a violation of the “federation” stance of Iraqia?

    I think not, but in politics you have to make “sausage” and the way to get bills passed is to get everybody on board. Just be thankful that Janabi and Allawi were able to get the Kurds on board to move the debate forward. Having seen the performance of oil ministry first hand, frankly, I am thankful that the decision will revert to parliament as the ministry of oil is so rife with corruption that not a single barrel of oil is sold without commission paid to the likes of Salam Maliki.

    In my view, Baghdad (if it is to maintain the union) must secede part of its powers. The Kurds know that the reason why oil resources in their mountains were not being developed was a lot more to do with politics than economics. The same is true for Anbar. Anyway, this is not a thread about the oil law but rather the authoritarian tendencies of Da3wa and Maliki. So back to the thread topic.

    M,
    Please forgive the grammer and speling in post above. I was typing in a hurry and am very tired. Please also forgive the “lecturing” tone. Did not mean to sound like i am telling you where the truth is, but I was there when the negotiations were taking place and I do not like it when history is presented to me differently than what I lived through. I know that Sadris and Hakim tried to bring Wifaq and Allawi sans sunnies and he (allawi) wanted not only sunnies, but also Kurds and create a “real Iraqia” that reflects the rainbow of Iraq. The untimely illness of Abd Al Azziz Hakim, unfortunately (for Iraq) caused ISCI and INA to announce before the negotiations could be completed. Truly, the INA including the Sadrists, were very concrete on not giving Maliki a second chance and HE (Maliki) knew it and thus insisted on the 50%+1. If that is not proof to you that he wants to be “THE QAAID DHAROURA”, then his actions since should make it clear that this is not just a “narrative”. I am still trying to find out what is it that the AMericans are so convinced that Maliki and Da3wa are not influenced by Iran when it is quite apparent to all of us who are on the ground? What is it that they have? Tapes of private conversations of Maliki cussing Khamanie? and is that enough for the conclusion that Da3wa is not influenced by Iran? Does anybody ask themselves why Iran pushed so hard to have Sadris move to support Maliki?

    Anyway. The bottom line, there will never be an SOL/Iraqia rapprochement. SImply put – in a land such as Iraq, there is a lot to be said about trust and the trust has been breached….. It is not repairable. Da3wa’s hegemony on power has to end if we are to stay a union. Power has to be devolved, so that NEVER AGAIn will we have a Saddam. Baghdad has to be brought to the right size. I revert to my suggestion that the capital of Iraq has to be moved to Kirkuk :)…. That is easier to do that pray for a rapprochement between Allawi and Maliki.
    Peace.

    and good luck with your training/studies. When you get back to Iraq, send me an email through riedar. i would be happy to show you the ropes ;)

  17. Reidar Visser said

    Observer, not entirely agreed re the oil law because the point you raise about a supposedly stronger parliamentary role is limited to electing the chairman of the oil and gas council. It is the creation of the council itself and the way in which it emasculates the oil ministry that I find to be at odds with the traditional preference of Iraqiyya for technocratic rule.

    Anyway, as you say, we can save the rest of that debate for any upcoming parliamentary action on the subject. Let’s just hope parliament does get back to business again early in the new year…

    In the meantime, here is something very Iraqi:

    مقررمجلس النواب يعلن عن تشكيل لجنة تحضيرية تضم عضوين من كل كتلة لتحديد موعد انعقاد المؤتمر الوطني

    A committee of two members from each bloc has been put together for the purpose of agreeing a date for holding a national conference. Nothing less.

  18. observer said

    reidar,
    I almost spit out my coffee reading your post. Yup – that is an Iraqi style meeting. Create a committee to meet to discuss the date of the follow up meeting, who is going to attend, the seating arrangement, and who will speak in what order. And you can bet that the meeting will not be productive because it is going to be public posturing and the real decisions are going to be made in side meetings, late at night in smoke filled rooms after sumptuous meals. Pleasantries will be exchanged publicly with much grandiose talk of importance of law and order and respect to the other and Muslaha Watania, etc., etc., etc. In other words, there will be a lot of wasted time and wasted effort and NOTHING will be resolved except to agree to meet again in a few weeks. Meanwhile things will stay at a stand still, or the committee fo the 5 judges that was formed two days ago will eventually say that the guards are at fault and nothing connects hashimi. The guards in question will “disappear” and the issue buried until close to the next elections when it wil be brought out again to remind everybody that ultimately every election is a sectarian war for dominance of ones sect over the others. And forevermore, the issue of sunna vs she3a will be used in elections to bring out the faithful to the voting booth.

    Not that much different than the abortion issue in the US. I am surprised that the abortion issue has yet to be breached in the current campaign in the US, but then again it is only the Republican primaries now and there is no pro abortion Republican in the race. Lets wait till October for that ugly issue to be brought out….
    Peace and happy and prosperous new year

  19. Santana said

    Front page NY Times today-

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/world/middleeast/us-military-sales-to-iraq-raise-concerns.html?_r=1&hp

  20. Reidar Visser said

    And the money quote in that story:

    Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, the head of the American Embassy office that is selling the weapons, said he was optimistic that Mr. Maliki and the other Iraqi politicians would work together and that the United States would not end up selling weapons to an authoritarian government.

    As if the authoritarianism belonged to a far distant, almost unimaginable future…

  21. Salah said

    “Daawa Authoritarianism”

  22. bb said

    مقررمجلس النواب يعلن عن تشكيل لجنة تحضيرية تضم عضوين من كل كتلة لتحديد موعد انعقاد المؤتمر الوطني

    RV – what is the national conference referred to?

    Observer, going back to the 2010 election results, is it your contention that Allawai/Iraqiyya was entitled to form the government WITHOUT having a majority on the floor of the COR ?

  23. Reidar Visser said

    Bb, as always, during a political crisis, there are calls for a national conference for the same old leaders to come together and talk. Nevermind that the cases of Hashemi and Eisawi were supposed to be judicial processes: The reaction seems to imply that everyone tacitly admits that the judiciary is subject to political influences.

  24. Seerwan said

    Gentlemen have you seen this yet? http://www.osama-nujaifi.com/previewNews.php?newsname=news1001

    “Osama Nujaifi says the New York Times op-ed reportedly co-authored by him (and Allawi and Issawi), was written without his knowledge.
    Nujaifi also says that it was an attempt “by some” to smear his role as head of the legislature.”

    via @alialsaffar on twitter.

  25. Reidar Visser said

    The statement seems to confirm the image of Nujayfi as someone who is trying to seek a middle position between Allawi and Maliki. Could also explain the presence of Izz al-Din al-Dawla from his faction at the cabinet meeting quoted above.

    Nujayfi will probably earn some points in the Maliki camp for this.

  26. Seerwan said

    Does Allawi see Nujaifi as a rival more than an ally at this point?

    (As is the view of Kamran Karadaghi: https://twitter.com/#!/kmkaradaghi/status/152520373370486784)

  27. Seerwan said

    Further conflicting positions between Allawi and Nujaifi, “Nujaifi denies No Confidence Vote against Maliki’s Govt is even a subject of discussion with Talabani: http://international.daralhayat.com/internationalarticle/344920

    via Uticensis Risk: @IraqiPolitics https://twitter.com/#!/IraqiPolitics/status/152578694618165248

  28. observer said

    Bb,
    barazani on no less than four occasions spoke publicly that Allawi should be given a chance to form a cabinet and in case he could not get the majority to support him in Parliament then the President can give the task to some one else. Allawi and Iraqi where never given the chance (because he could have brought in enough support from Sadris, ISCI and the Kurds). Maliki made sure that “independent judicial” branch gave its opinion about electoral Kutla vs Parliament Kutla, etc. etc. etc.

    The point I am bringing about is that there is no respect to the constitution by Da3wa and they will do what it takes to stay in power. M and others can claim that they are nice guys all they want, the problem is that the likes of M and others are outside Iraq and are not living under the effect of the screwed up system that is the new Iraq. Anybody who comes to Iraq and lives here for a few months will know that this system (in Arab Iraq) is not going to work………
    peace

  29. observer said

    Seerwan,
    Does Talabani view Barazani is a rival or an ally? Do people in the same coalition have to have a 100% compatibility to be viewed as united?

    What I find disturbing about this is not the compatibility of Nujaifi and Allawi, but that some aid did not ge Nujaifi’s approval on teh final draft of the op-ed.
    Peace

  30. Reidar Visser said

    Observer and Seerwan, my thinking is that this is more than an aide failing to obtain a signature. Why has Nujayfi decided to make such a fuss about it? Clearly, he is doing it for political gain.

    Nujayfi was the number one potential ally for Maliki back in 2009. As parliament speaker, he has sometimes tried to create the impression that he transcends narrow Iraqiyya party interests. Nonetheless, in 2010-2011 he has been more in line with the Allawi message than before. Then from June onwards came pro-federal noises, which were seen as anti-Maliki but in a different way than Allawi. Note however that so far Nujayfi has shied away from supporting any specific pro-federal movement in Nineveh! Also his brother, Athil, took a lot of heat from others in Nineveh for meeting with Kurdish leaders recently…

    The common denominator in all of this seems to be a desire to remain part of the political dynamic in times when others in Iraqiyya are leaning towards boycott instead.

  31. observer said

    Reidar,
    I can not claim that I know what Nujaifi’s motivation is but my thinking is that it has nothing to do with trying to get closer to Maliki (he is smart enough to know that Maliki will never deliver on his promises). Rather, i think it is a reaction to Hyder Abadi belittling the “appeal to america” (at least that is 3badi’s characterization of the op-ed). On the latter (3baidi), what is surprising in the public posturing of Da3wa is that they ignore the FACT that they are only strong through the Iranian intervention on behalf of Da3wa and Maliki. The saying goes “if you are not shy, then lie all you want” (i can’t translate the arabic saying better than this).
    Peace

  32. Salah said

    Reidar,
    What Nujayfi up to, I think I post back a link to a story which tells what Nujayfi thinking to have as his future plane in new “Dissolving Iraq

    بريطانيا تستدعي الملك الأردني لسماع رأيه حول (الإقليم السني العراقي) ودمجه بالأردن

    http://www.nakhelnews.com/pages/news.php?nid=12301

    “Morris, from Brooklyn, NY writes:
    Dear Mr. Ford: Wouldn’t Iraq be better off, and with much less violence and problems, if the country were split into three separate provinces? One for the Sunnis, one for the Shiites, and one for the Kurds.

    Robert Ford
    Morris – I have not in my 2+ years here yet met an Iraqi who thinks this would be a good idea. They want to stay a single country and they have had one for the past 85 years. They also want to get their security situation under control, they want to have safe streets and a growing economy. We very much want for Iraq to remain a united country, both because that is what its people want but also because the division of Iraq could add to instability in the Middle East which has more than enough instability as it is. For exactly that reason, Iraq’s neighbors all want it to stay a single country too.
    Welcome to “Ask the White House” — an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration officials and friends of the White House. Visit the “Ask the White House” archives to read other discussions with White House officials.
    Robert Ford
    Counselor for Political Affairs, United States Embassy Baghdad, Iraq

  33. bb said

    Thanks R. It was also interesting to read that Dar al Hayat article; the wonders of google translation.
    What I don’t get is why the formation of a national conference on this contentious issue should be the subject of sneers? Yet again, the spectrum of the Iraqi polity gets together to solve a political issue politically. They attempt unity over division. Tolerance over sectarianism. What could be wrong with that?

    Also was enchanted with http://www.osama-nujaifi.com . What an impressive CV this man has. Would I find similar gems lurking in other Iraqi ministries ?

    Observer: the grievance, then, is that the formal process of the president calling on the leader of the largest single bloc within 15 days was not followed? Nor was it in 2005, to my recollection.
    Whatever Barzani might have said for public consumption, it was open at any stage in the following 8 months for the Kurds to throw in their lot with Iraqiyya, but in the end it went the other way. That’s the reality of coalition-forming. Iraqiyya seems very well represented in the cabinet.

  34. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, I’m not quite sure what all of your links point to, but the Nakhil one is certainly an exaggerated conspiracy story. So far there is no substantial pro-federal movement on the ground in Mosul, unlike Salahaddin for example.

    Bb, the sneers had to do with the fact that instead of actually holding the meeting, they agreed to form a grand preparatory committee, two members from each bloc, with the hope that they could agree a date for the meeting. Not terribly effective when the country is in crisis.

  35. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    Rest assured, I do not interpret your insightful comments and opinions as “lecturing.” You are there, and I am not, so I certainly don’t mind learning from your first hand experience. Socrates once said, “As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” Thus, even though I may have an MD and a PhD, I am humbled about how little I know.

    As Reidar has pointed out, al-Maliki has certainly not proceeded by the constitution as he should in his position as PM in a consistent manner. Al-Maliki did not handle this al-Hashemi issue in a wise manner to say the least. He has been lax in clamping down on corruption within his own Dawa party. In short, I agree that al-Maliki is far from being the ideal leader for Iraq. I am sure Allawi does not trust him.

    But the question is: what are the goals right now? From the appeal in the NY TImes, Allawi was first and foremost worried about the establishment of a dictatorship. Fair enough. I go back to my earlier proposal, why is Iraqiya not pushing for term limits as a constitutional amendment? If you put the concept of term limits amendment to a national referendum, I am sure you will find 95% of Iraqis agreeing to this. With such a huge popular unified voice, al-Maliki would no longer have any legitimacy within even Shia circles if he tried to run as a PM again. It would also make people think twice about corruption because nobody will be around in a few years to protect them.

    With all due respect, you didn’t answer my question in your last reply. You just said, al-Maliki will not agree to it, or will break his promise. That was not my question. My question is why is Iraqiya not forcefully pushing this issue that has broad appeal to all Iraqis? I can tell you that al-Maliki will not agree to the national security council either, but Iraqiya continues to push this. What do you have to lose? The worst outcome is that al-Maliki would refuse, and this would only further build your case regarding al-Dawah’s alleged power-thirst, and make al-Maliki look bad.

    My point is that there are smarter and more effective ways of limiting Dawa’s grip on power than Allawi’s national security council. I agree with Reidar about the national security/policy council chairman position—it is unconstitutional and takes away from powers given to the PM and parliament. If this council can create law or make binding decisions, it IS unconstitutional anyway you cut it. Let’s say the republicans have a veto proof majority in both houses, and since Republicans don’t trust Obama, then can they just create a new law that gives power to a group of people that can enact binding policies on the rest of the country in matters that fell under the executive branch (like foreign relations, command of the military, etc)? Of course not, the US Supreme Court would strike it down immediately.

    Constitutional term limits with overwhelming public support for such a measure make it hard to wiggle out of even for al-Dawah. It would be easier to get broad Iraqi support for such a measure than the security council proposal, and achieve the same goal of limiting authoritarianism.

    Happy New Year!

    M

  36. Salah said

    Reidar,
    Nujayfi form day when Iraqis quitted, Nujayfi stays operational as normal with his job despite he is on Iraqia list candidate and his party/Kutalla withhold their political activities with collection government.

    I was discussing this matter a week ago how is come Nujayfi still active while his party withdrawn all activities? Is he really with Iraqia block or he is acting by himself?

    I agree all his fuss is for political gain, just to pick your attention early days of this saga starting Jaafri thanks Nujifi for counting his role in parliaments….

    As for the links, I think there are some talks behind curtains Reidar, this is not new and not first time although looks now more “an exaggerated conspiracy story” but let wait and time will tell.

    As per JED BABBIN article “Dissolving Iraq” he stated:

    ”This carnage is not Iraq’s “new normal.” It is a return to the old normal that will continue until some new strongman asserts control over Iraq or Iraq is broken up into sectarian regions and swallowed by its various neighbors.”

    There is an idea of splitting Iraq and dissolving it, isn’t Reidar?

    As for Iraqi as Mr Ford point out Iraqis not welling to be divided but how much control they had have?

    Reidar, for now let us wait for this “an exaggerated conspiracy story “ time will come, I will remind you

  37. bb said

    imo there’s a fine dividing line where sneerers are in danger of sending up Arab culture.

    Have you considered that the cross-party participants might be intentionally avoiding adding to the adversarial “crisis” hysteria in favor of lowering the temperature to facilitate a negotiated outcome?

    It would be surprising if the preparatory committee did nothing more than set a date at this meeting. You really don’t think they will have wider discussions on the issue?

  38. observer said

    bb,
    the situation in 05 was different. There was no argument as to which block had the PM. what was happening is that Kurds and Sunnies as well as Iraqia (much smaller then) did not want Jaafary and Jaafary refused to give “his position”. In the end, and under pressure from the Marje3ia (and of course Iran and the US) he gave his position to his number 2, Maliki… then the government was formed. It was presumed then that the next election, a PM that comes from ISCI would be the “she3a” candidate. Of course that affected the negotiations of the formation of the She3a coalition that I referenced earlier and resulted in the ISCI running together with Sadris, while Da3wa ran alone under SOL with lip service to law and order and post sectarian politics (because they were so sure that they would get the largest block). I recall quite clearly the day Maliki threatened to take over the headquarters of the election commission when it becomes apparent that Iraqia will get a lot more seats. By the way, reidar, whatever happened to the case of the 400,000 “Iraqia misappropriated votes” that forced Hamdia to leave the electoral commission? I do not recall if there was ever a thorough investigation.
    Peace

  39. observer said

    ps
    on the Kurds… They will always take what is best for the Kurds. Barazani has a much better working relation with Allawi than any other leader (historic reasons that go back to Allawi’s stance vis-a-vis Barzani in 96)…. In the end, the Kurds (rightfully) will do what is best for the Kurds (and bless them for that -they are smart and have learned much from the mistakes of the past, unlike the rest of Iraq).

  40. Salah said

    دولة القانون : امكانية اتفاق النجيفي مع المالكي لتشكيل حكومة اغلبية سياسية

    أكد النائب عن ائتلاف دولة القانون جواد البزوني ان هناك امكانية لحصول اتفاق بين رئيس الوزراء نوري المالكي ورئيس مجلس النواب اسامة النجيفي لتشكيل حكومة اغلبية سياسية .

    وقال البزوني لوكالة كل العراق [أين] اليوم الجمعة إنه ” من المحتمل ان يتفق المالكي والنجيفي على تشكيل حكومة اغلبية كنوع من الحل للخروج من الازمة السياسية الحالية التي يبدوا انها عصية عن الانفراج بسبب تمسك الكثير من قادة الكتل السياسية بمواقفهم”.

    واضاف إن ” المواضيع الخلافية بين الكتل السياسية ازدادت في الفترة الاخيرة بعد التطورات الاخيرة كموضوع مذكرة القبض على نائب رئيس الجمهورية طارق الهاشمي وتعليق القائمة العراقية حضور وزرائها ونوابها الى جلسات مجلسي الوزراء والنواب”.

    وعن دعوة القائمة العراقية بسحب الثقة عن المالكي أوضح البزوني ان ” هذه الدعوة لن تلقى صدى بسبب عدم استنادها الى اسباب قوية ومقنعة كونها جاءت على خلفية مذكرة الاعتقال بحق الهاشمي “.

    http://qanon302.net/news/news.php?action=view&id=11099

  41. observer said

    Muhammad,
    Constitutional term limits can certainly be part of the mix. Recall that the constitution was supposed to be amended within one year of its adoption (that was the “condition” that was used to help encourage Musil, Anbar and Salahdin accept the ill begotten document. So now, let me ask you what has happened to the amendment process (not to say anything about the untold number of laws that are supposed to be promulgated as per the constitution. Or even the “federal court” which is still unconstitutional because its members are supposed to be augmented. Also let me ask you – wouldn’t the Kurds want all the disputed territories be resolved and the oil law passed before any serious issues are added. Come on muhammad, think retail politics. It is fine for Allawi to say publicly that he wants term limits – but in the end the danger is not Maliki per se, but the entire Da3wa party. What prevents Da3wa from advancing Hayder 3badi instead of Maliki. I can tell you that there are very few people in Iraq that are more sectarian than 3badi.
    Peace and happy new years

  42. observer said

    Salah,
    have you not learned by now the ways of Dawlat al Qanoon to spread rumors and trial balloons. Really, the Kurds would sit by and Nujaifi can bring in all of Iraqia to the table. I know I am outside now and can’t get the real deal, but let me say that Nujaifi has less chances than a snow ball in hell to make such a proposal stick (assuming of course that he is already on board with it as SOL would want us to believe).
    Peace

  43. observer said

    bb
    look at the trial balloon that SOL just sent up as Nujaifi would bring in Iraqia (or a portion thereof) to create a second government, under the leadership of Maliki/Da3wa. Would one do that if the meeting is real or the intentions are clear?
    Peace

  44. bb said

    Observer – could you provide a link to that SOL trial balloon? Am starting to bookmark all these Iraqi sites now that i can read them if only in the rough.

    Going back to 2005, my point of comparison was that the formal “within 15 days” process was never followed. Instead there were protracted negotiations over 6 months. In that respect what happened after 2010 was just a rerun.

    Yes, in 05 it was caused by the refusal of parties to accept Jafaari as prime minister. In 2010, the parties were not agreed upon Allawi becoming PM either. Nor were they agreed upon Maliki as pm. Eventually a negotiated agreement was reached – normal procedure in all democracies when coalitions have to be formed to get the numbers in the parliament.

  45. Seerwan said

    @bb – Yet it took about two days for the Conservatives and Liberals to agree on government formation in the UK after the 2010 elections.

    Iraq’s extended negotiations over government formation is just one demonstration, of far too many, of the dysfunction and ineptness of Iraq’s political parties.

  46. observer said

    bb the link is in “salah” post

    on you points – I am no constitutional expert but here is my recollection of the Iraqi constitution (riedar will have to correct if I make a mistake).

    On the first meeting of a newly seated parliament, they have to select the speaker of the house, and the president. The President then will give the “leader of the largest block” the job of forming the government. The PM designate has 30 days to form his cabinet and put it up to the parliament for a vote fo confidence. If not successful, then another person is given a try.

    That has been violated in so many ways, I can not even begin to describe. First, they came up with the idea of “keeping the first meeting open”. That happened in 06 and 10. Of course that means that no business gets done until the damned government is formed. the bazzar mentality could cause four years of delay. Meanwhile, the PM (who is supposedly a take care PM/government) has no over sight (not that he has any over sigh anyway, but let us be technical) and he can do whatever he wishes, including getting Iraq involved in a war?!!!. So in order to address this “open session”, a law suite was filed, and it came about that the opinion of the court is that it is unconstitutional so let us wait for 2014 (or a new election) to see what kind of “takhreej Sher3ee” (you have to be Iraqi to understand that expression) they will come up with to allow time for the Bazzar to negotiate seats and what have you……

    I can go on describing how the constitution has been prostituted but I do nto feel like it.

    Peace

  47. observer said

    seerwan, the irony is that UK does not even have a written constitution!! That speaks volumes – no?
    peace

  48. Seerwan said

    Indeed, Observer.
    The source may be strange, but he hits the mark, “Good governance never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders.” – Frank Herbert
    Bush Jr. launched a war with no oversight, either.

    Happy New Year.

    Peace.

  49. Reidar Visser said

    Observer, I only have a few marginal notes on what you outlined above. In the first session, only the speaker needs to be elected. The president is to be elected within another 30 days. I totally agree that the singularly most illegal aspect of everything that took place was the open-ended session that began in early June. Unfortunately, no legal ruling was produced until late October 2010, typically after the Sadrists had agreed to make Allawi prime minister.

    I need to remind you that Hasan Alawi, then of Iraqiyya, unwisely refrained from taking up the position as temporary speaker by virtue of being the oldest member of the assembly. Iraqiyya thereby lost initiative in the process. Also, they could have filed a court complaint against the open session earlier.

  50. Seerwan said

    Observer, while we are comparing Iraq to the UK I pray that you indulge me; Maliki has reneged on the coalition agreement, increasingly monopolizes power, etc.
    However, it is inconceivable that the Vice President of a country would call the Prime Minister a Dictator on the eve of a foreign visit, as Vice-President Hashemi did.
    As an example: as pro-Europe as the Liberal Democrats are, observe Nick Clegg’s behavior after David Cameron returned from his meeting with EU leaders only a few weeks ago.
    As improper as SOL behave, why doesn’t Iraqiyya behave any better? The MP’s from all the political parties are often absent from Parliament; the leader of Iraqiyya has been in Amman for a year!

    So could you please explain why Iraqiyya nonetheless remains in a coalition with SOL (so far, anyway)?

    In opposition you could play a serious role in critiquing the government, something Iraq would be better of having.
    To reference my above example, in criticizing Cameron’s actions at the EU summit the leader of the UK Opposition Ed Miliband “ma qasar” , as we say in Arabic. If Clegg had said what Miliband said, it would have ended the coalition government.

    Furthermore while remaining in government Iraqiyya is just as blameworthy for Iraq’s problems such as lack of security, public services, housing, corruption, etc. as SOL or anyone else; in the current government Iraqiyya has from the main ministries the Finance & Industry & Minerals Ministries; and until recently the Electricity ministry as well.
    Doesn’t that make corruption, electricity and unemployment a problem Iraqiyya as responsible for as much as other parties, if not more responsible than the other parties? As the ministries that should be resolving these problems are under Iraqiyya’s authority?

    In allowing SOL free reign of government, assuming all the above problems wouldn’t resolve (as is likely) Iraqis would entirely blame Maliki and Co. for lack of progress in the next election whereupon Iraqiyya would gain significant traction.

    So please do enlighten me. I don’t understand why Iraqiyya hangs on to a few positions in his government when in the long term they would benefit so much more if they left the coalition.

    Peace.

  51. observer said

    Seerwan, I am not a supporter of Mutleg nor Hashimi. Of the leadership of Iraqia I have few the I like, 3esawi is one, allawi of course is another, muhammad allawi, and a few others. Iraqia is a marriage of convenience and is not a homogenous mix at all. That said, I think that Mutleg is free to call his opponents anything he wishes. He is not an employee of the PM, rather is appointed by the parliament. Maliki correctly appealed to the parliament to remove him, lets see if they can get a majority to support the request. What is unacceptable is that Maliki uses threats of “secret files” to obtain concessions from his opponents/allies. Either justice is independent or itsn’t.

    Now for the question of opposition – if you only know how many times allawi called for all Iraqia to quit the government…. These people need the jobs to give to their supporters. Long story. I stated here before that if Mutleg or Hashimi had an iota of self respect, they would have quit a long time ago…

    as for giving Maliki a free reign – how much more free reign you want to give him? Do you have any assurance that there will be a free election (or even an election)!!!.. Do you recall Maliki’s attempt to control the election commission last fall?
    peace.

    PS
    same could be said for the Kurds – since they did not get any of the 19 promises ;)… in Iraq, engagement is better than opposition (it appears).

  52. observer said

    reidar,
    I agree with you on alawi.. Full of himself and does not allow anybody to give an opinion in his presence ;).. Frankly, i thought that Iraqia should have challenged the “interpretation” of Kutla. As you recall, the wording was that it can be interpreted “this way or that way” as if we needed the court to teach us Arabic language lessons……

    Peace

  53. Seerwan said

    Absolutely; we agree Maliki has just cause to remove members of government that do not toe the government line, but the way he goes about doing it is ridiculous.

    Indeed; I left out above that the only benefit of staying in government is the financial benefits the positions provide. However, its a short term benefit at a long term cost. Strategically short-sighted. Who knows, the government could collapse in a few months.

    Indeed; ‘justice’ in Iraq is selective, making it unjust.

    I see. At least Allawi has more sense than his partners… I still don’t get why he’s been sitting in Amman for a year though.

    There is no guarantee it will be a free & fair election or a sham. If its a sham, you lose no matter what. If its free and fair, you will gain, but not by current strategies.
    Its a long-term game. Maliki can do what he wants, but if 2011 has reminded us all. whatever they do, leaders can be toppled at any moment. I see no reason what this does not apply to Iraq.
    There is a limit to a limit to how much:-
    – Iraqis will bear the lack of utilities
    – Iran can influence govt policy before there’s an nationalist backlash among the public
    – patience of the marja3ya
    – US withdraws begins to limit support to Maliki’s govt
    And many other unknowns.

    There are actions Iraqiyya could have taken to marginalize Maliki; one example is Hashemi fleeing to Kurdistan.
    As improper as Hashemi’s statements were, the way Maliki is going about trying to remove him could have won Iraqiyya much support, both internally and externally if Iraqiyya had acted appropriately.
    Instead of staying in Baghdad and being arrested, insisting the case go to trial, and so on, to demonstrate what a sham the ‘justice system’ is, Hashemi has fled to Kurdistan.
    This was a good opportunity to demonstrate beyong any doubt that his regime is an autocracy & not a democracy.
    Unfortunately, Hashemi’s actions make Iraqiyya appear just as unsophisticated as SOL rather than being a superior alternative.

    Peace.

  54. observer said

    seerwan,
    Allawi has been in Iraq and the rumors that he is in amman for a year are not true. He travels a lot – that is true. What you have to know is that in Iraq and the region, very little gets done on the phone as everything is monitored and even email is not secure. thus a lot of face to face meetings are needed to get anything done. That menas that much travelling is needed.

    As to the Hashimi affair. This is a make or break moment. If Maliki gets away with using the justice system this time, then the game is over and everybody should prepare themselves for a breaking of Iraq Neither the Kurds nor the sunnies of Iraq will have much of a stake in an Iraq that is under the hegemony of Da3wa.

    What you also need to acknowledge is the any election is still going to be decided in a sectarian fashion with the margin of error at around 10% (the percentage of those who are willing to jump the sectarian divide).
    Peace

  55. Seerwan said

    I see.

    Brother Observer, it’s as if you’re following the Mayan calendar.
    Come now: in the past twelve months three Ben Ali, Mubarak & Qaddafi were toppled. Bahrain is in chaos. Jordan is political turmoil, the monarchy could collapse anytime. Saudi Arabia is only a matter of time, as are all the other GCC states.
    The atmosphere of the entire region is not conducive to the establishment of a new dictatorship. Iraqis went through that, they went through Civil War. There is no desire to return to that state.

    That is true, but have they had a real choice?
    Either vote for a Shia Islamist, or a Sunni totalitarian, or the Kurds.
    They haven’t yet been given the option of selecting a truly non-sectarian party; no offense, but parties like Iraqiyya or Da3wa that pay lip-service to non-sectarianism and nationalism when the election comes around don’t count as non-sectarian when one is overwhelmingly Sunni & the other overwhelmingly Shia.

    Iraqis need to be given the option of a genuinely non-sectarian party. They haven’t had that till now.

  56. observer said

    Did you see how maliki proclaimed that these “revolutions{ you sighted were started by the Islamic parties!!!! what is he drinking? But then again if you are not shy then lie all you want…Of course the revolution in Syria is not good because that same Maliki does nto support it and wants it to negotiate with Asad/Baath (anybody else sees the irony in this or is it just me?). Your call on SA and the GCC are premature, IMHO.

    At any rate, what we have (leadership wise) is what we have. I am afraid that Iraq will disappear before a new generation of leaders comes up the rank. As you know, we always have leaders for life in any political party. and those that do not like it, can split and form their own parties where they are the head. All of Iraq are leaders simply because the old generation is not willing to let the young Turks handle the reigns..
    peace

  57. Seerwan said

    Hahaha! Indeed, I remember that. If I recall, Maliki didn’t say it was Islamists, he implied it was Israel, or whatever unknown groups, that want to destabilize the middle east. As if it was such a stable region to start with.
    Such a ridiculous statement/belief/perspective of the Arab Uprisings.

    The old generation, of all parties, are tearing Iraq apart with their actions.
    Sadly, the youth Iraq currently has in power aren’t doing too brilliant a job either… Ammar Hakim and of course Muqtada.

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