Iraq and Gulf Analysis

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

How to Sack an Iraqi Prime Minister

Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 4 June 2012 23:53

There has been lot of talk about signatures in Iraq lately. Most of it has been focused on a supposed list of signatories who asked President Jalal Talabani to stage a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Late Monday, both Maliki and Talabani confirmed the existence of some kind of petition addressed to Talabani; Maliki asked Talabani to hand the document over to the judiciary to check it for possible forgeries.

There are lots of problems regarding these alleged signatures, both at the technical level and in the broader constitutional context. Technically speaking, no complete document of signatures has been published so far. Most press reports deal with aggregate numbers of deputies for each of the blocs opposing Maliki, with only a dozen of independent deputies specified by name. Numbers of signatories vary from 176 to 200 plus. Several of the named deputies, minority representatives and one Kurdish party (Goran) have subsequently protested at their inclusion or specifically rejected the idea of a no confidence vote in Maliki.

More importantly though, these signatures – whether they actually exist or not – have no legal or constitutional meaning.

There are two ways of asking for a no confidence vote under the Iraqi constitution.

Firstly, the president can do so. Importantly, in that case he can do so simply because he feels it is the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter whether he has the signature of every single deputy in the Iraqi parliament or none; it is his decision alone. It should be stressed that there is no need for the president to present any compelling rationale for having the vote.

Secondly, a fifth of the deputies in parliament (65 MPs) can also ask for a questioning of the PM (istijwab) followed by a no confidence vote. In that case, however, they need to go directly to the parliamentary speaker (Usama al-Nujayfi). Talabani has no role whatsoever in that route to a no confidence vote.

In both cases the vote itself will be settled by an absolute-majority vote of 163 deputies.

In other words, the signatures to Talabani are no more binding than an opinion poll. Talabani may listen to them if he likes to, or he may reject them and ask them to work via a 65-member petition instead.

This is why it is so strange that Maliki has initiated a procedure of investigation of these basically valueless signatures. One possible explanation is that he may want to pre-empt any possible move by his enemies through embarrassing them with charges of fraud. The different reports of the true number of signatories are in themselves perhaps an indication that there may be problems relating to the verification of some of the signatories. Even if this move by Maliki may seem quixotic, it is certainly preferable to the overtly politicised recent ruling by the supreme court on the right of parliament to question ministers.

Iraqiyya claims Talabani has already sent a request for a no confidence vote to Nujayfi. The only thing that is known officially is that Talabani has formed a committee to deal with the question of the authenticity of the signatures.

Constitutionally meaningless it all is, but maybe a way of winning time for players unsure about their next move?

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57 Responses to “How to Sack an Iraqi Prime Minister”

  1. MA said

    Just to clarify, isn’t it the case that only 25 MPs are needed to ask for the questioning of the PM, but one-fifth (65 MPs) are needed to then call for the vote of no confidence? Thanks in advance.

    (long time reader/lurker, first time commenter)

  2. Kirk H. Sowell said

    I’m also trying to figure out why so many seem to think the magic number is 164, instead of 163 (a bare majority of 325). It’s not like having one more makes the vote valid. Any ideas why they keep saying this?

    In regard to Talabani, to the extent to which there is any logic to this at all, it may be that they want to prove they have enough, once his PUK MPs are included, so that he will commit. After all, the motion in parliament would be pointless if Talabani doesn’t jump on board, since they surely won’t get to 163 without the PUK.

  3. Reidar Visser said

    MA, thanks for that, you are right that there are really two sequences in the second route to sacking the PM. 65 is the number required for actually having the no confidence vote; the istijwab can start with only 25.

    Article 61-8-b-2 says, “parliament can, based on the request of a fifth of its members [65 in the current parliament] withdraw confidence in the PM, and this request can only be presented after a questioning/istijwab directed to the PM, and after a minimum of 7 days after the presentation of the demand”.

    Article 61-7-c says, “parliament members with the agreement of 25 MPs can ask for a questioning/istijwab of the PM or the ministers, to hold them accountable in their area of specialisation, and the discussion will be held at least 7 days after the presentation of the demand”.

    An additional problem with the istijwab route, in addition to the fact that it takes longer, is of course the limited interpretation of istijwab in the latest ruling of the supreme court where it basically says there must be a specific constitutional infraction or a criminal charge against the ministers for the istijwab to go ahead.

  4. Reidar Visser said

    Kirk, my very unscientific suspicion is that the Arabic expression “plus one” (za’id wahid) has become so glued to Arabic discussions of majorities that they always add it for good measure even when it is unneeded since the membership is an odd number (325).

  5. bb said

    Heh, heh, if I were president Talabani I’d be flick passing the ball (that’s an Australian term!) to Mr Nujayfi by requiring the petitoners to go the parliamentary route.

    Far be it from me to advise Iraqiyya on political tactics, but if prime minister and State of Law engage in delaying tactics, what you do is then hold a media conference where Mssrs al Sadr, Barzani, Allawi, Talabani etc dramatically produce their signature lists and publish them for all to see. To have full force is it essential that it is the leaders of the parties involved who conduct the press conference so the solidarity of the movement against PM is unquestionable and their numbers incontestable. Exciting times ahead.

  6. I said

    What happens if a no confidence vote succeeds. Will there be General Elections?

  7. Reidar Visser said

    No, president appoints new PM candidate based on procedure of article 76 of the Iraqi constitution.

  8. Mohammed said

    Dear All:

    While I agree with Reidar that the signature list is in of itself constitutionally meaningless, the fact that it was presented to the President of the Republic as a document as Talibani requested may still be important and have legal repurcussions.

    If it is determined that the signatures or names placed were forged or done without consent of respective MPs, I can see Maliki making the argument that such a document amounts to fraud. As such, he may follow the paper trail and prosecute the individual(s) responsible for creating the document and presenting it to Talibani. I am no lawyer, but if there was fraud, the anti-Maliki forces may have just opened up a whole other set of problems for themselves.

    regards,
    M

  9. amagi said

    This all seems utterly, utterly ridiculous. Unless I am very much mistaken, the list of names — in whatever form it might exist — is just that: a list. It isn’t a contract. It isn’t even a petition or an oath of fealty. At most it might be a pledge of support, but how could it possibly matter whose name appears on the list until the actual vote is taken and we see who really stands where? Politicians say things all the time, that doesn’t mean they have any intention of following through with them!

  10. Reidar Visser said

    Amagi, I think you’re right. The signatures weren’t needed. The Maliki critics made a point of collecting them anyway, possibly stretching the technological parameters of their signature collection endeavours beyond the normal standards for such procedures. Now Maliki is seeking to involve the judiciary in what would normally be considered minor and unprosecutable mischief by Iraqi standards. The net effect is of course that the no confidence vote gets delayed.

  11. Mohammed said

    Reidar:

    I might add that Maliki is “lax” when it comes to minor and major offenses when it comes to his political allies, but it would not surprise me if he goes for life in prison on minor offenses of his opponents. Maliki would certainly not see fake signatures as a minor offense. If he smells blood, he will go after it…

    Honestly, if somebody sent a document to Obama (that Obama asked for)with my fake signature on it, they would be in a heap of trouble in this country.

    M

  12. Reidar Visser said

    Sure. It was the mention of “signatures by e-mail” and the way everything was presented in the media that made me wonder whether we might be dealing with a more subtle kind of fraud, i.e. not someone actually forging a signature but lots of e-mails saying for example, “X and Z and Y have said they would support a NCV” or some such. Pure speculation on my part though until the investigative committee has completed its deliberations. I suspect they will take their time.

  13. Santana said

    I am worried about Sadr’s visit to Iran- he was told to come…not asked…I am sure Qassem Sulaimani is explaining to Moqtada the gruesome details of what can happen to him, his family and friends……with a nice display of the sharp tools and probes to be used if this vote goes thru…….and I am not exaggerating guys…

    Iran has already started to accept the fact that Syria is gone soon….so for them to lose Iraq in unfathomable and an even bigger tragedy for the Mullahs…..remember guys-Iran’s plans for regional supremacy is at stake here….and without Iraq the sanctions would REALLY bite in…..poor bastards …..**sniff sniff*……. and they are such a nice bunch too………..kinda brings tears to everyone’s eyes doesn’t it……

  14. Anna said

    RV..If you have a list of names and if your statement in the heading is correct and Gorran say they did not seek to be included in the list, then the partys involved of drawing up the list and submitting have committed a act of knowingly submitting a fraudulent documented list if its includes Gorran and they say they were not to be included.

    What ever Maliki route to deflect or by time, the party’s involved are liable to investigation and they weaken there case by there actions .

    It shows those involved with the list are just the same and play games with Kurds, Shia’s , Sunny’s and the other minority’s to suit their own personal agenda.

    The drawing up and submitting of the list as only made issues worse and as set up more rhetoric from Bazarni-Allawi-Sadr. It stir’s up more tension and the loss of innocent life. I will make no excuse for Maliki, equally I make no excuse for what the protagonists who helped form this Government and now want to change it by unconstitutional means.

  15. observer said

    there is a new Fetwa – this time directly from the rep of Khamieni

    http://www.shatnews.com/index.php?show=news&action=article&id=1988

    Muqtada is going to have to declare that he is joining the secularist movement :)

    Santana – news i got indicate that Sader is sticking to his guns. If true, i would be impressed by his cajones (to use Mo’s words). Sader also condemned the demonstration of 3sa2b Ahl Al haq in Kadhimia under the tutelage of SOL/Maliki. Though I will repeat Santana’s aversion of Sader, but then again we have the likes of Mutleg… Ah politics.

    Meetings are on to discuss the “day after” but I am not one to count the chicks before the eggs hatch. I expect legal challenges by SOL to the vote. I also expect attempts to prevent a quorum from taking place. There is much they can do to stop the vote…. All of course will be justified by our local Maliki lawyer(s).
    Peace

    PS
    Mo, don’t read too much into my words about Sader and Mutleg because you do not want me to start listing the names of SOL “reps” that are questionable ;)

  16. observer said

    anna,
    “I make no excuse for what the protagonists who helped form this Government and now want to change it by unconstitutional means.”

    Really – what we are doing is unconstitutional in your august opinion? Hmmm. Funny, i got the feeling reading RV’s post that we are right on the constitutional track?!! Maybe my English is not up to snuff. RV, is what we are doing, in your professional opinion, constitutional or unconstitutional?
    Peace

  17. Reidar Visser said

    Observer, I would say Shatt News is overplaying the Asifi statement somewhat, he is after all not a grand ayatollah and doesn’t issue fatwas. What he said is interesting since he has a track record of (unsuccessfully) trying to subjugate the Daawa party to wilayat al-faqih but it does not have the strength of a fatwa whether from him or Khamenei.

    The president has a perfectly constitutional right to ask for a no confidence vote and does not need to present arguments or signatures. Introducing the signatures was superfluous rather than unconstitutional. If indeed anything has been forged, it would be a problem, as Mohammed says, though I really hope that is not the basis on which this whole saga will be settled.

  18. observer said

    Thanks RV.

    Anna – now you have your answer in clear English. I hope you all wills stop claiming that what we are doing is unconstitutional.

    RV- I am not worried about the signatures issue. But if that is what they want to spend energy on, then let them. It leaves them engaged with unimportant issues, but I am sure they have different teams working on different scenarios….
    Peace

  19. Anna said

    Observer..RV.
    I said if Gorran are correct and they did not want to be included , then it is unconstitutional and plain fraudulent. Whether the list was needed or not to remove Maliki , if Fraud is committed then its goes against the constitution.. you can call it any words you like. But anything that is proven to be Fraudulent is not written as acceptable in the constitution, or does it say party’s can engage in fraudulent activities and the Constitution allows this to happen without course for redress.

    Final point. If you form a Government on a basis of a secret document like the 19 point Arbil agreement, then how can democracy be seen to run smooth. Maliki and the Kurdistan sort to build a Government on a Secret document.
    Is that okay to do?

    Opinion is what people are offering.. One Fact Maliki /KRG agreed to government based on secret document. My Family are in Arbil and they do not want more things that allow Bazarni to keep taking there oil and giving it away to companies for cheap.

  20. Reidar Visser said

    I think we are struggling with terminology here. If signatures have been falsified then it is illegal and criminal rather than unconstitutional. To the best of my knowledge, the constitution has no specific injunctions against fraud.

  21. Christian121 said

    Will Nouri Al Maliki staying in power be good for the Iranian regime or bad?I also find it odd that Sadr whose JAM fought so hard for Iranian interests in Iraq(or so at least the media told me so) now wants to sack Maliki in collusion with Gulf Arab and Turkish interests.Why is Sadr doing this,deviating from the Persian line?And also why is the United States supporting Nouri Al Maliki if his staying would be better for Iranian interests then some alternative?Also if Nouri Al Maliki being sacked would be good for Iraq and bad for Iran(as apparently the Iraqiya Slate tells me so) why would they want to sack Maliki knowing full well that more than likely it will be Ibrahim Al Jaafri or Ahmed Chalabi who will be Prime Minister of Iraq instead of someone like Allawi?

    As an American reading Iraqi news,this is so dreadfully confusing to me.
    Thanks.

  22. Reidar Visser said

    Christian, there has always been a misperception in US media that Iran put all its bets on a single faction in Iraq (the Sadrists). For a long time, it actually gave most support to one of the favourites of the Bush administration (SCIRI/ISCI). More broadly speaking, their number one priority was never to have one Shiite faction win over all the others but to have a Shiite alliance defined in sectarian terms.

    The Sadrists have certainly played a part in that Iranian aim in recent years. Note also despute the current turmoil, bothSadrists and Maliki supporters are using similar language on the need to maintain a Shiite alliance no matter what. My theory is that Iran has been playing this whole game with the aim of demonstrating leverage and influence in Iraq and ultimately reaffirm sectarian alliance patterns. After all, the Sadrists have not unseated Maliki yet.

  23. Mohammed said

    Brother Observer:

    1) Since you are implying I am Maliki’s lawyer, then please feel rest-assured that should Maliki try to prevent you guys from a vote, then I would have to resign as his lawyer given that I couldn’t defend such a move…

    2) Regarding the signatures…can you enlighten us on a couple of matters
    a) is it just a list of names (163 or greater) that was given to Talibani, or their actual signatures either in electronic or paper form?

    b) in your best estimation, do you believe that Maliki knows the names of every body on that list already or is that a secret from him?

    3) On Muqtada al Sadr – I agree with RV. In the end, Iran will twist his ears and Maliki’s ears like two school yard boys and make them get along. All Muqtada will need is some guarantee that Maliki does not become too powerful to wipe out Muqtada when nobody is looking. But in the end, Iran will keep the shiite groups together, and force them to be dependent on Iran. No need for qassem suleymani theatrics like Santana suggested.

    regards,
    M

  24. barry said

    What is the problem with this signatures? Isn`t it normal too check out if there is a real support out there before they go further. It seems like the most of you on this tread are supporting Maliki and try your best to undermine his opponets. Do you really think this guy is good for the Irak people. They deserve soo much better than this.

  25. Reidar Visser said

    Barry just to be clear, nothing in this article should be construed as an attack on the right of Iraqis to collect as many signatures as they want. But 1) Please steer clear of forgeries if they are supposed to be part of the public debate; 2) Don’t ascribe legal or constitutional value to them when they have none (as in this case).

    It should be added that currently Maliki and Talabani are the ones who are focusing the most on the signatures. The latest statement from Talabani tonight is very confusing.

    http://www.iraqipresidency.net/news_detial.php?language=arabic&id=12094&type=news

    Talabani says he has received “lists of signatories” from the blocs and his committee is currently checking “the signatures”. Confusingly, he then says he intends to pass the signatures on to parliament speaker Nujayfi, after they have been audited. This latest point is particularly worrying, because it is simply not Talabani’s job to do that. He can use the signatures to inform his own decision, for sure, or for personal entertainment for that matter – but the only thing Talabani needs to send to Nujayfi is a request to hold the no confidence vote, period.

  26. barry said

    rv

    you write
    2) Don’t ascribe legal or constitutional value to them when they have none (as in this case).

    can you tell me who you are referring to?

  27. Reidar Visser said

    Initially many players and media commenters seemed to believe it was important whether there were 50 or 180 or 200 signatures. Legally it doesn’t matter one ioata since Talabani can call the vote even if no one signs. As said, it is just an opinion poll and should be treated as nothing more than that.

  28. Anna said

    RV.. Its to easy to call for a vote. If Iran has the influence then it will be seen in the vote. Talabani is playing with Bazarni and making him sweat for keeping Hawrami in his post. Iraq and Kurdistan people are second to the games of Political groups.

    Now is it time for a new vote for all the people in Iraq and a sweep away of the current Political people in Iraq?

  29. Christian121 said

    So as a curious American let me pick your brain for a while if you don’t mind:

    1.Say if one were the POTUS,what would be a competent Anti-Iranian influence,Pro-American influencing Iraq strategy?

    2.What the hell is the problem with the Iraqi constitution?From reading one of your past articles,apparently the constitution allows for provinces to form federal regions OR stay under the current administrative role of the federal government.From looking at American press reports(that I’m beginning to never trust) I was under the impression that Iraq had an American style of federalism,that just hadn’t fully developed yet due to politics.Why is Iraqi federalism so convoluted like this?How would it make it sense for there to be some states but other provinces to just “not” be states at the exact same time?

    3.What is your take on Gulf Arab and Turkish influence in Iraq?Their attempt to sack PM Maliki?Why does the US line not seem to follow their allies in the region?As a matter of fact the next Ambassador to Iraq,Brett Mckurk,appears to be somebody who was appointed solely on the basis of personal friendship with Nouri Al Maliki(the man doesn’t speak Arabic,he NEVER ran an embassy before in his life but now he’s going to be running the largest embassy in the world….)And this leads me to the next question.

    4.Why is the United States supporting Maliki?Why did they ever choose him in the first place?I read that Bush chose Maliki because he had a reputation of “being independent from Iran”. What then is he doing getting the die hard support of Hakim and the ISCI?Why wasn’t someone else chosen?Did the Americans just think Maliki was going to be another Karzai or what?

    5.Is Ayad Allawi as incompetent as a politician as he appears to be to me?He received more votes in the 2010 elections than Maliki and ended up getting screwed over with a seat on a “strategic policy council” that was never going to be formed that was also unconstitutional.What is wrong with him?

    6.Where does Ahmed Chalabi stand in Iraqi politics?Why is he as a secularist part of the NA with all these religious parties?Reading the wikileaks docs he had wanted to form a secularist moderate front with Allawi but I suppose Allawi’s personality got to him.Speaking of Allawi’s personality.

    7.What is the extent of Allawi’s and Maliki’s personal hatred of each other?

    8.I heard from a wide variety of sources that PM Maliki had once vouched for “executive” immunity for about 16,000 US troops that would have stayed in Iraq past 2011 based on the sort of deal the US has with the Bahrain monarchy.Obama rejected this seeing it as “unconstitutional” (this is despite the Arbil agreement vouched for of course) and he demanded parliamentary immunity instead.Why did the US end up passing up the chance to stay in Iraq more or less permanently?How did PM Maliki feel about this?What happened here?

    9.Why did the United States create a proconsulship occupation government in Iraq instead of the provisional government vouched for by Ahmed Chalabi,the INC,and the Iraqi opposition?Wasn’t that going to be seen as undemocratic and contradicting the US mission of democratizing the country?Why wasn’t the Iraqi Opposition listened to AT ALL between the years 1992 and 2002?

    10.Why did the United States insist on deploying hundreds of thousands of troops in the country for the invasion force and war when the Americans could have just used the tens of thousands of Kurdish Peshmerga, Free Iraqi Army personnel,and Iraqi Army defectors that actually would have known the lay of the land and the language instead?The US with air support,bags of cash,some couple hundred SAD agents and Special Forces operatives were able to liberate Afghanistan,a nation of 30 million people using this method while also providing stability there that was far greater then ever afforded to Iraq.At the risk of sounding dense,why wasn’t this surgical method tried out in Iraq too?There were actually more Peshmerga in Kurdistan alone then there were Northern Alliance soldiers in total during the 2001 Afghanistan intervention!!!

    11.Why was the United States just so………BAD in this war?Who was asleep at the wheel here?

    I apologize for the length of my questions but these seem pertinent issues to me.I want to know what went wrong here in Iraq.

    -A curious American.

  30. barry said

    rv

    Who treat it different?

    To me it seems like it’s you guys who do it. Or media..

    Try and accuse the right people.

  31. Reidar Visser said

    Christian, your questions are mostly too general for this particular thread. I’ll make an exception since you are a first commenter and give some brief replies pasted below but I’d encourage everyone to try as much as possible to stay on topic. No follow-ups unless they are directly relevant to this post please:

    1.Say if one were the POTUS,what would be a competent Anti-Iranian influence,Pro-American influencing Iraq strategy? ANY STRATEGY THAT BREAKS UP SECTARIAN AND ETHNIC BLOCS IN IRAQ IS GOOD FOR THE US & BAD FOR IRAN

    2.What the hell is the problem with the Iraqi constitution?From reading one of your past articles,apparently the constitution allows for provinces to form federal regions OR stay under the current administrative role of the federal government.From looking at American press reports(that I’m beginning to never trust) I was under the impression that Iraq had an American style of federalism,that just hadn’t fully developed yet due to politics.Why is Iraqi federalism so convoluted like this?How would it make it sense for there to be some states but other provinces to just “not” be states at the exact same time? IT IS CALLED EVOLUTIONARY FEDERALISM. SAME SYSTEM AS IN SPAIN.

    3.What is your take on Gulf Arab and Turkish influence in Iraq?Their attempt to sack PM Maliki?Why does the US line not seem to follow their allies in the region?As a matter of fact the next Ambassador to Iraq,Brett Mckurk,appears to be somebody who was appointed solely on the basis of personal friendship with Nouri Al Maliki(the man doesn’t speak Arabic,he NEVER ran an embassy before in his life but now he’s going to be running the largest embassy in the world….)And this leads me to the next question. TURKEY & GCC CURRENTLY ANTI-MALIKI. NO REASON THEY SHOULD BE IN SYNC WITH US ON REGIONAL ISSUES

    4.Why is the United States supporting Maliki?Why did they ever choose him in the first place?I read that Bush chose Maliki because he had a reputation of “being independent from Iran”. What then is he doing getting the die hard support of Hakim and the ISCI?Why wasn’t someone else chosen?Did the Americans just think Maliki was going to be another Karzai or what? IT IS CORRECT THAT MALIKI HAD BEEN MORE INDEPENDENT FROM IRAN HISTORICALLY THAN OTHER SHIITES BUT US MADE MISTAKE WHEN SUPPORTING HIM AS PM CANDIDATE OF SECTARIAN SHIITE ALLIANCE INSTEAD OF SEEKING IRAQIYYA-STATE OF LAW ALLIANCE

    5.Is Ayad Allawi as incompetent as a politician as he appears to be to me?He received more votes in the 2010 elections than Maliki and ended up getting screwed over with a seat on a “strategic policy council” that was never going to be formed that was also unconstitutional.What is wrong with him? THE STRATEGIC COUNCIL WAS A BIG GAMBLE SINCE IT IS NOT IN CONSTITUTION. SOME WD SAY OVERBOLD.

    6.Where does Ahmed Chalabi stand in Iraqi politics?Why is he as a secularist part of the NA with all these religious parties?Reading the wikileaks docs he had wanted to form a secularist moderate front with Allawi but I suppose Allawi’s personality got to him.Speaking of Allawi’s personality. DESPITE SECULAR OUTLOOK CHALABI ADVOCATES SECTARIAN SHIITE ALLIANCE, MAKING HIM CENTRAL TO IRAN’S EFFORTS.

    7.What is the extent of Allawi’s and Maliki’s personal hatred of each other? VERY EXTENSIVE.

    8.I heard from a wide variety of sources that PM Maliki had once vouched for “executive” immunity for about 16,000 US troops that would have stayed in Iraq past 2011 based on the sort of deal the US has with the Bahrain monarchy.Obama rejected this seeing it as “unconstitutional” (this is despite the Arbil agreement vouched for of course) and he demanded parliamentary immunity instead.Why did the US end up passing up the chance to stay in Iraq more or less permanently?How did PM Maliki feel about this?What happened here? THERE SEEMED TO BE IRAQI WILLINGNESS FOR A LIMITED NUMBER OF TROOPS BUT THEIR IMMUNITY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GUARANTEED BY PARLIAMENT. AS I UNDERSTAND IT, USG DECIDED THIS WAS NOT SUFFICIENT.

    9.Why did the United States create a proconsulship occupation government in Iraq instead of the provisional government vouched for by Ahmed Chalabi,the INC,and the Iraqi opposition?Wasn’t that going to be seen as undemocratic and contradicting the US mission of democratizing the country?Why wasn’t the Iraqi Opposition listened to AT ALL between the years 1992 and 2002? WELL, IT WAS LISTENED TO A LOT IN 2002, BUT VERY SELECTIVELY. NOT SURE IF AN EMPOWERED VERSION OF THE HIGHLY UNREPRESENTATIVE GOVERNING COUNCIL WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER SOLUTION.

    10.Why did the United States insist on deploying hundreds of thousands of troops in the country for the invasion force and war when the Americans could have just used the tens of thousands of Kurdish Peshmerga, Free Iraqi Army personnel,and Iraqi Army defectors that actually would have known the lay of the land and the language instead?The US with air support,bags of cash,some couple hundred SAD agents and Special Forces operatives were able to liberate Afghanistan,a nation of 30 million people using this method while also providing stability there that was far greater then ever afforded to Iraq.At the risk of sounding dense,why wasn’t this surgical method tried out in Iraq too?There were actually more Peshmerga in Kurdistan alone then there were Northern Alliance soldiers in total during the 2001 Afghanistan intervention!!! I DONT THINK SADDAM WOULD HAVE FALLEN WITH THOSE INDIGENOUS FORCES YOU MENTION

    11.Why was the United States just so………BAD in this war?Who was asleep at the wheel here?

    THEY WERE THINKING IN THE WRONG WAY: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/16/opinion/an-unstable-divided-land.html?_r=1
    STILL ARE.

    I apologize for the length of my questions but these seem pertinent issues to me.I want to know what went wrong here in Iraq.

    -A curious American.

  32. bb said

    Christian 121 – Oh dear, this is long gone history. If you want to know the answer to your questions, Reidar might be able to provide you with a reading list. The time it takes you to get through the books will probably equal the time it took for the US to get from invasion, to withdrawal – about 9 years.

  33. @ Christian121 As BB has said, your questions would require a number of books to answer.

    Could the blog readers provide a recommended reading list?

    I’d suggest:-
    – “A Responsible End? The United States and the Iraqi Transition, 2005-2010″ by our own Reidar Visser
    – “The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace” by Ali Allawi (unrelated to Iyad Allawi)
    – “Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Baghdad’s Green Zone” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran.
    These books should adequately cover the 2003-2010 period.

    Don’t know which books focus on the Bush Administration’s decision making process in the run up to the war in 2003, or of the topic is adequately covered by the aforementioned authors in their works.

    The 2010-2012 period is still unwritten about in books as its still ongoing. Invaluable resources for ongoing analysis is the blog we are on and Joel Wing’s http://www.musingsoniraq.blogspot.com. Sometimes news stories or op-eds of interest are linked to and discussed on this blog.

  34. Anna said

    RV.. The link to the NY times.. Its not America’s problem Iraq, A different President was elected on a mandate to withdraw troops out of a War he did not agree with and American’s voted him into office to do that. Libya is an example of letting the people overthrow a dictator not America.

    The Government that was formed in Iraq was a result of Maliki and Kurdistan agreement. What happens after that is not Americas problem or the presidents problem. America can not come running every time there is a problem in Iraq and America and our people have paid a heavy price to free Iraq, the best thing is to let Iraq find it’s own solutions to the problems. Its not America’s problem to keep an eye on Mailki its the other party’s to do that. Now they are doing that, but why does Allawi hid out in London most of the time if he is so important. Iraq must find its own way now or it will always be dependent on America.

    4000 Americans lost life and familys at home in America have children with no fathers and mothers now, just for oil.

    Now Iraq is free to choose a new leader if it wants to by a majority vote. Is this not progress and why blame our president for the failings of Mailki and Kurdistan Government for there agreement.

  35. faisalkadri said

    I just heard that Muqtada instructed his block from his Iran residence to pull their support for the confidence motion.

    If I may step on Reidar’s toes for a moment, regarding his answer to Christian’s question #1: ANY STRATEGY THAT BREAKS UP SECTARIAN AND ETHNIC BLOCS IN IRAQ IS GOOD FOR THE US & BAD FOR IRAN.
    I think the answer is true and would be good for Iraq, the U.S. and stability in the region but secular Iraqis did not cut deals like the sectarians.. And breaking up sectarian blocks should be left to the Iraqis in a UN run census and elections.

  36. Christian121 said

    A reading list would be lovely.
    Also in case the SHTF who would be a best case scenario PM in case Maliki does get sacked?I hear Chalabi and Jaafri are being bought up as alternatives.

  37. observer said

    Bro Mo,
    You are only one of his lawyers in this neck of the woods. He has no lack of supporters amongst the expat community who know nothing about what happens inside. Ya ya – I know, you are on skype every friday and saturday talking about the price of water melons in 3alawi al hilla. Nevertheless, the kind of “experience” I am talking about comes from dealing with government people trying to process some sticky little piece of paper like “Be6aqat Sakan”. Anyway, it is what it is. You are convinced that you know Iraq better than we do, so have at it.

    On signatures. I have not seen the document(s). Some may be email solicitations, some maybe signatures with blood (as reported by media in regards to the saderists), some are actual signatures. I have not even bothered to ask, though when I talked to “front liners”, I was assured that it is all “much ado about nothing”. Maliki and company are just throwing dust in the air, which is typical when it comes to buying time. Look at how “slick” they have been with the agenda on the National Conference which now they are dying to hold.

    Paperwork aside, why are Maliki and company so focused on the authentication of signatures? Is it to buy time? To intimidate? to create “a constitutional crisis” when there is not even an issue? my guess , it is all the above. You call it politics, I call it something else, but I do nto want to get bogged in semantics here. Maliki can take Allawi and company to court after he wins the no confidence vote. Oh hold it, he may loose that vote if he does not get a few MP’s to back off. And that takes time.

    Dude, i see that you are arguing for Maliki when it suits you, then come back and say “I will not support him if he does not allow the vote to go through”. If your boy is so confident that he is going to win the vote, why doesn’t he say ok boys “bring it on” and survive and then crush his opponents. I know – you will get out of this one by saying “you personally would advise him to go for it”. By now, and according to your previous post, you should have signed your letter of resignation and sent it to your client. But I am sure you will have an explanation as to why your client is right and that the vote will be held in due time.

    (PS – just to show you that I am a kind old man trying to help you become a better lawyer. See where I am going with gathering ammunition for the future?. I am setting you up for when your boy intimidates enough of our people – ;).)

    BTW, if you are going to ask me, “why is Talabani is on it and helping Maliki buy time?.” I am sure I will blow a gaskit, and if you think that my sarcasm is too much now – wait until you get me really going.;)

    On Muqtada, well it is day 5 now (lost count) and he is still holding. Oh, now let me see you change your explanation and say “well of course, iran wants a weaker PM”. Mo, you are a slik lawyer, that is for sure, and I have lots of respect for your skills. i am not one to underestimate the opposition. But don’t think that I do not notice your ability to play tricks. You try to have it both ways, all the time. Advice- choose and argument and stick to it. Either Maliki is a strong anti Iranian Iraqi nationalist who Iran wants to replace with a weaker MP they can control, or Iran is going to twist the ears of Sader and bring him to yield to Maliki (which then would destroy your first line of argumentation)

    RV – on your tweets. i am positive that the letter has been delivered to Nujaifi (and Barzani). I do not know what you are talking about when you mention that the Prez is verifying signatures. What web site are you getting that info from. It still early in the AM here, so I will get some information soon.
    Peace

  38. Santana said

    Mo- You wrote “Iran will keep the shiite groups together, and force them to be dependent on Iran. No need for qassem suleymani theatrics like Santana suggested”

    Yes- you are right Iran will keep the Shiite groups together…..but how ? the “theatrics” that I described -and that you reject- are actually what’s needed to keep in line ONLY Iraqi Shiites that don’t like Iran nor it”s meddling in Iraq…..Shiites like the Sadrists and a few others fall into this category…..surely – these “theatrics” and methods that I mentioned are not needed with Iranian agents like Hadi Al-Ameri , Solagh , Jaafari , Chalabi or Maliki ……..who all worship every speck of Iranian dirt.

    I am sure you think what I suggested as far as Iran’s way of handling disobedient Shiites is far from the truth, but this shows how naive you are…..how else do you think Iran keeps Nationalistic Iraqi shiites in line and supporting an evil Iranian agenda? ….please tell me…….

    Again- let’s go back to “the end justifies the means” theory…….do you understand how much Iran has at stake if they ever lose grip on Iraq ???? cuz if you did, then you would agree that anything and everything is possible…..but obviously you don’t ……I will bet you think Iran is perfect and holy….and that Maliki is the messiah who walks on water and turns it into wine…

  39. Reidar Visser said

    Observer, one point of detail that I’ll answer right away, the tweets related to an official presidential release from the presidential website and it was linked as well. I’ll repeat it here:

    http://www.iraqipresidency.net/news_detial.php?language=arabic&id=12094&type=news

  40. The signatures were daft to begin with. I fail to see what the point in that exercise was. Was it to convince Talabani they had the votes? Why are some of them forged, and why is he bothering to verify them? Legally, in terms of the no confidence motion, they are meaningless.
    Maliki’s attempts at verifying the signatures are also bizarre considering the signatures are irrelevant and it’s what happens in Parliament that counts.

    Also, Observer and Santana, your input on the forum is more than desired. However, your constant allegations that Mohammad worships Maliki, “Maliki is the messiah who walks on water and turns it into wine” is getting really old. Not only are they untrue, they are simply unnecessary.

  41. Mohammed said

    Observer:
    On your explanation of the style of the signature or names list – thanks, that was helpful.

    On the expat community – Sir, don’t take me and the readers of this forum for being idiots. You are framing it as us (‘the expat community’) vs you (‘the people IN iraq’). There are plenty of iraqis in Iraq who are far more loyal Maliki supporters than some expats are. Don’t forget that Maliki won more votes than Allawi and Hashemi combined in 2010 smack dab in BAGHDAD (and that’s Baghdad, Iraq not Bagdad, Arizona(btw, there is such a city)). Doesn’t actually fit your expat theory, there does it? And oh, by the way, I know plenty of expats who hate Maliki.

    On Maliki being pro- or anti-iran — My theory has been quite consistent. I have always stated that Maliki first and foremost desires power. The weaker he is, the more he will look to Iran to come to his aid, and naturally, the Iranians will have more influence over him. No different than any other politician. With regards to Muqtada al-Sadr, obviously Maliki and Sadr have hated each other since their clashes in 2007-2008. Sadr now believes that if Maliki is left unchecked, he will wipe out the sadrists within a couple of years. After all, right now Sadrists are king-makers, and that buys them reasonable power. Iran simply needs to provide guarantees to Sadr that his influence in Iraq will not go by the wayside like it did for ISCI.

    Santana: You kill me man. Have you learnt nothing about my views from what I have stated on this blog over the last two years? Iran is a religious dictatorship. Plain and simple. They have tremendous influence in Iraq, and yield it as they please. They don’t need to use a torture shed to convince Sadr (your description by the way reminded me of the scene from the movie ‘True Lies’ with Schwarzenegger). Killing Sadr to achieve an end for them would be messy. Iranians are far sophisticated than that. BTW, it is YOUR theory that is going down the drain now—not mine. You, Santana buddy—stated that all religious shiites fear being ‘zapped’ in bed by Abbas if they ever go against Iran. I told you back then such theories are nonsense. How do you explain Sadr’s recent anti-iranian moves then? He went from drilling holes in the heads of sunnis to becoming Iraqiya’s saviour? Al-Abbas would have zapped him to a crisp by now, surely???

    RV: One thing I don’t understand about your theory of Iran demonstrating their power—what happened to those ~20 iraqiya/ex-Iraqiya MPs who pledged support for Maliki three weeks ago? If Maliki had their support, why would he even need Sadr? Doesn’t that free him to finally get rid of the sadrists from his block once and for all, and form the majority govt he wanted? A govt that would be less susceptible to iranian influence??

    regards,
    M

  42. Reidar Visser said

    Mohammed, I don’t think the pro-Maliki minority in Iraqiya is gone. Indeed, a State of Law deputy yesterday named 4 supposed anti-Maliki Iraqiya signatories from northern Iraq that had “withdrawn” their NCV signatures. But they didn’t hold the promised meeting of around 45 MPs to form a pro-Maliki Sunni-secularist bloc last Sat either. I think there are exaggerated claims on both sides.

    In any case, I think the disputed-territory support for Maliki is what Iran does not like about the current situation. Maliki is probably riding two horses at once here, trying to satisfy nationalist and sectarian constituencies alike. Notice his order today to stop the bickering over awqaf properties btw Sunnis and Shiites. Paternalistic and nationalist, though some of those driving the endowment property conflict may well come from his own alliance.

  43. Anna said

    What Iraq needs now is for us to remember that it is not defined by its political leaders, nor by its violent minority, nor by its past, nor by its neighbors near and afar, but by the aspirations and will of its people.

    http://www.usip.org/publications/what-iraq-needs-now

  44. mac said

    RV what about Article 58-8th-b-3 which states: “3- The Council of Representatives shall decide to withdraw confidence from the Prime Minister by an absolute majority of its members.”? this is the 3rd action available for a NCV. How/why was this not discussed?

  45. Reidar Visser said

    Mac, are you sure the numbering of your version of the Iraqi constitution is up to date? It was renumbered early on. Article 58 has only 2 clauses which deal with emergency session and term extension respectively.

  46. Christian121 said

    Mo-
    Maliki hates Sadr?
    What’s the sort of hatred here?Is it comparable to the hatred that Allawi and Maliki have for each other?Is this hatred a motivation for why Sadr wants to sack Maliki presumably for the consolidation of his power base?Is Maliki and the SLC in a “siege” mentality so to speak now given the threats from all across the spectrum minus ISCI majorly?

  47. observer said

    Esquire Mo,
    Like it or not, we THE INSDIERS, know the situation a lot better than you can dream of knowing. That is a fact. Like it, argue with it, protest, do what you wish. It does not change the FACT.

    On votes, reminder – Iraqia 91 SOL 89. It is not a contest between Allawi and Maliki it is a contest between ideas. So if you want to play the votes game, It can be played many ways. Reminder, stop beating on Allawi, he is not in the running for PM. Find yourself a better target.

    On Maliki’s pro-iranian tendencies. Nice articulation. Proud of you bud.

    So let us follow your logic to its “logical end”. Because we want a strong Iraq, we should allow Maliki to become all powerful and thus (in accordance with your august theory), he will become independent of Iran. Right, or am I pushing words into your mouth?

    Guess what all powerful means?: New Saddam. Da3wa instead of Ba3th.

    Do you see where I do not care about your theory. Do i need to explain to you what an Iraq under a religious authority is like? Better yet, I invite you to come to Basrah and experience it first hand.

    Oh, and on Iranian pressure. My god if you only knew how great they are in applying pressure. Funny thing is that their pressure is multiplied by the US pressure to keep Maliki in place lest we have a vacuum in baghdad during the elections. God forbid, the Iraq situation ever affects and election in the US.
    Peace

  48. observer said

    Christian,
    The hate story is a nice narrative of think tankers. It is not about personal hate, it is about trust. There is no trust between maliki and allawi given the number of promises made without ever intending to execute on promises.
    Peace

  49. @ Observer – What you fail to grasp is the age of one-party rule is over. There is old media, the internet, mobile phones, new media, etc. Iraqi society is no longer trapped in an information bubble. What they know is no longer controlled by the state.
    Iraq under Saddam had none of those things. No one can know repeat what Saddam did. Genocides can’t happen with the world not knowing or not caring about them. Another Anfal or Halabja can’t take place.
    Iraq under Saddam was such a police state that people were imprisoned because their spouses reported to the authorities that they spoke ill of the Great Leader. Maliki however is openly cursed by many.
    While there are about 1500 Iraqis being imprisoned without charge and without informing their families as HRW reported, that is nothing in comparison to the 100,000s that were imprisoned under such conditions under Saddam.

    The future bodes even better as Iraq’s young population is influenced by external ideas of freedom and democracy from Egypt and the West. They will be impossible to control.

    Everyone wants to be Prime Minister, not just members from other parties, but members from within his own party as well It is unlikely Maliki will be able to get a third premiership, and that’s assuming he will complete his second term, which you say is about to end.

    Either you are too stuck in the past being and terrified of history repeating itself or you’re exaggerating to advance your own interests. As a politician, the latter is expected.

  50. faisalkadri said

    Seerwan,
    You say: What you fail to grasp is the age of one-party rule is over.
    I find something wrong with your reasoning. Iran is a one-party rule with a sham elections.There is plenty of Internet cafes in Iran, lots of tweets and screams, it didn’t stop a brutal crackdown on opposition. All Maliki needs is sham elections like Iran and he will propagate his single party single leader rule.

  51. observer said

    kak serwan,
    Tell me about the Iranian people attempt to escape the yolk of Khamenie in 2009. What good did the mobile phones, media, etc., do to save the young ones from a government intent on holding on to power. Better yet – talk to me about the Syrian people. Or how about Yemen. Or even Bahrain. Or for that matter, Saudi Arabia. News flash, when the army helps the PM stay in power, no amount of international pressure or loss or legitimacy is going to help.

    So call me an old fart (which I am), but each one of us brings their life experience to the table. My life experience tells me not to trust words of assurance from you young people (expats at that) or trust Maliki’s smooth words.

    As for me being a politician – hahahah. You think I am interested in positions!!!. Why is it that you people discount principals as a motivation? Cynical – aren’t you. I can throw it right back at you and say that you wanting Maliki to stay serves your interests? Would that be fair?

    BTW, I have no shortage of offers to “take part”. My own interests would be better served by kissing ass to Da3wa (which is easy enough) and pay “tribute” be it words, or kick backs, but it is my damned conscious that prevents me from kissing ass, and the FCPA that prevents me from the latter.

    On one party rule is over and no massacres can happen in the new iraq. Ever heard of Zarqa in 2006 in our own Iraq? I bet not. The easiest thing for Maliki is to declare a people “enemies of the state” or jihdists, and then let loose with the army. Yet that same Maliki that kileld 400 people in Sarqa, is now parading 3saab ahl Al Haq in Baghdad. Give me a break guys and wake up and smell the coffee.

    We are at a cross roads. Iranian (and US) pressure is causing delays buying Maliki time to buy votes (it even happens in Italy, so do nto tell me it is not happening here). Those that are not bought are being intimidated but we are not standing ideal either. Decision time is upon us.
    Peace

  52. Mohammed said

    Dear Insider Observer:

    As an insider, you of course know more about “facts on the ground” than me, and it is my privilege to interact with you. Where you and I differ is on interpretation of SOME facts or key pieces of information (I by default accept your reports of fact as “truth” unless it directly conflicts with another data point that I know to be “true.”). I am sure that there are many insiders in Iraq who know just as much if not more than you about “facts on the ground,” and they reach different conclusions and opinions regarding policy-making. I have to follow what is in my heart and mind, and pray for guidance. Bottom line—I am not a blind follower when it comes to religion or politics.

    You said: ” So let us follow your logic to its “logical end”. Because we want a strong Iraq, we should allow Maliki to become all powerful and thus (in accordance with your august theory), he will become independent of Iran. Right, or am I pushing words into your mouth? Guess what all powerful means?: New Saddam. Da3wa instead of Ba3th.”

    My response: I think you logical end needs some work. Indeed Maliki wants more power. So do the democrats and Obama. It would be Obama’s dream if all 50 states had democratic governors, the senate and house were democrat majorities, and he got rid of the conservative supreme court justices through retirement and nominated liberals. Reality is America is not created that way (Americans in UTAH will never vote democrat, and Americans in northeast will always be liberals).

    For Maliki to make gains in Mosul (he needs to be nationalistic, more secular, and less sectarian policies), it will cost him support in his shiite base. His hard-core sectarian religious base (ali al-adeebs (who also want power, after all, why should it just be Maliki?), badr guys who now support him) will pull him the other way. Maliki has tried being nationalist once in a while. The recent vote in parliament with Iraqiya against the idea of having the hawsa veto legislation is one example. His nationalistic chest-thumping in Kirkuk/Mosul as another example.

    Iran’s influence on Maliki will largely depend on what groups Maliki can muster together in a coalition. Say he breaks up Iraqiya and creates a new coaltion with 30-40 ex-Iraqiya/secular people and boots out Sadrist from the national alliance. Iran may wind up with less influence, and pressure people within the islamist groups to pull Maliki back to the sectarian camp. Maybe some of the hard-core shiites will break-off to form their own party and call for a federal regions, and call Maliki a baathist traitor. The point is: I do not see a compelling pathway for unchallenged one party Da3wa rule in Iraq. If

    Yes, there is always the army massacre approach, but that is too messy, and Maliki doesn’t need to do that if has enough political cunning. Killing sunnis into submission in Mosul is just an invitation for wahabi suicide bombers to come into Iraq and make it hell for everybody. He will lose whatever little hair he has left on his head and be left with just his 5 O’clock shadow.

    Maliki wants more power, but he cannot be all-powerful.

    regards,
    M

  53. observer said

    Dear outsider/expat Iraqi Mo

    ‘he needs to be nationalistic, more secular, and less sectarian policies’.

    More secular – huh? Have you read the doctrine of Da3wa? More secular means that he is semi secular now. Really? what evidence do you have of his current “secular” policies let alone “more secular”.

    Nationalistic – oh you mean beat up on the Kurds some more? or reduce his dependence on Iran. What does “nationalistic” mean?

    less sectarian – have you been reading the news for the last 6 years. You think Da3wa doctrine allows for less sectarianism?

    Looking forward to your rebuttal.
    Peace

    PS – I left all the other fallacies in your post alone as it a side issue. You need to read more about the history of America though.

  54. Mohammed said

    Christian121:

    Pure speculation on my part but I have never been shy for sharing my 2 cents:

    Regarding Maliki and Sadr:
    1) Maliki fought them (with the aid of the americs) and the famous battle “Charge of the Knights”..of course the americans/brits did most of the work, but it was symbolic victory of Maliki (a PR ploy for Maliki as well)..over the sadrists in Basra, and broke Sadrists strangle hold on the city of Basra. Maliki put many sadrists in jail. Sadr fled to Iran, and hated Maliki since..Sadr was forced by Iran to support Maliki after 2010 elections after holding out for many months.

    2) Maliki and Sadr compete for similar voters—Religious shiite base. Sadr has most of his support in the shiite underclass, poor. Maliki wants in on that support. If your Maliki, you ask yourself, why should Sadr hold 40 seats in parliament…those votes should be coming my way..after all, I am a religious shiite too..If your Sadr, you see an aggressive Maliki who may undermine your support in the future if he is left unchecked. If Sadr lost 10-20 seats in parliament to state of law, his influence as king-maker goes down the drain, costing him ministries and power. So if I was Iraqiya I would try to convince Sadr that he will have more power with a weaker Maliki…

    regards,
    M

  55. placebo12 said

    Mo, a few pointers for you:

    1. The American example doesn’t help your argument. Two completely different systems, histories and people.

    2. We’ve addressed the “Maliki wants more power” issue already. I don’t think anyone is arguing with that. It’s the HOW not the WHY. The HOW is factual, the WHY will always remain debatable. You continue to debate around the possible emotions and intentions behind certain actions, thus providing legitimacy to the action itself.

    3. I’m still “looking forward” to your replies to my previous points.

  56. Sorry, forgive me, I meant the age of one-party rule in reference to Iraq. That entire post was in reference to Iraq.

    Nonetheless, seeing as I did not state so clearly, I’ll respond to you gentlemen’s citation of Iran and Syria as examples of continuing one-party rule.

    Iran as you gentlemen point out had an uprising in 2009. The current Iranian regime is highly unlikely to remain in power for very much longer. It may be tomorrow or next year or in 2020; whenever it may be, it will happen relatively soon. The next Iranian presidential election is scheduled for June 2013 and is likely going to flare up.
    Also, comparing states with one another can’t be done that simply, its not apples to apples. Iran to Iraq have very different circumstances. Firstly Iraq, unlike Iran, has recently ended one party rule from which it transitioned into a multi-party democracy (granted, dysfunctional, but multi-party democracy nonetheless). It is unlikely to revert to a one-party state, and even if it does, it is impossible that such a party will dominate Iraq to the degree Saddam’s Iraq did.
    The Iraqi Government does not have as strong a grasp over security as does the Iranian regime. Iraq is vulnerable to external interference from Iran, Turkey, Israel, USA, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc. due to the Government not having a strong grasp on security and having various sects and ethnicities. Iran has been ruled by the same regime for decades; they have an iron grip on the institutions of the state, unlike the Iraqi Government.
    While the Iranian regime can use a measure of force to compel acquiescence to their rule, Maliki or any Shia party can’t use violence to force Arab Sunnis and Kurds to bend to their will; they must convince them. The Arab Sunnis and Kurds will only not use resist the government if they feel 1- they have an appropriate say in government 2- the powers of the more regional authorities on the provincial and local level have greater authority to respond to citizen’s needs.
    The second point is something the Kurds already have and the Shia in the South are agitating for as well; even if there would be one party rule in the central government, it becomes less significant if the provincial and local authorities have more executive and legislative powers than they currently do.
    Lastly, the West has little influence in Iran as it has historically been sanctioned, embargoed and sidelined. Maliki, or any Shia party, want to have good relations with the West and what is I think most relevant is they want US and Western weaponry like F-16 fighter jets and such arms; this means the West has strings it can dangle before Maliki or a Shia party to behave better; factors that were absent in the US bag of tricks it could use to influence Iran.

    And Uncle Faisal yes; Iran’s government was able to crack down on the opposition in 2009-2010, but that story is not over yet.

    You gentlemen also cite Syria; currently undergoing a mass uprising which will eventually at the very least depose the dictator Bashar, if not the entire upper echelon’s of Syria’s Ba’ath party.

    Ya Ostath Observer, Bahrain is again a different matter; the only thing propping up the Khalifa regime is the continued use of force. The only reason it can continue to fund this security apparatus is Saudi Arabia; which is why Iraq needs to pump as much oil as possible, and why I’m furious at the Iranian regime in not letting in Western (or even non-Western) International Oil Companies to pump out Iranian oil and undermine the financial viability of the Saudi Salafi Wahhabi regime (and by extension Bahrain’s Al Khalifa one as well).
    And fair enough, not politician; political party member. You are on this forum to advocate your partys’ position, narrative and perspective. I’d expect nothing less. I simply say the narrative is either misguided or exaggerated, that is all, Sir.
    And of course it is in your interest, as a member of the Iraqiya party, that Iraqiya have a superior position in government. The role of any political party is to improve it’s standing in government (ideally after what should be it’s prime objective which is serving the public).
    And sorry, I have not heard of Saraq; but again, it is invalid; we are in 2012, not 2006 when Iraqis were neck-deep in a river of blood.

    So let me state clearly; in my humble opinion, I strongly feel that considering Iraq’s circumstances (the most essential of which I mentioned above) a reversion to one-party rule is extremely unlikely; and even IF it were to do so, the hold of that party on the organs of the state will be weak and it shall be unable to control Iraq as Saddam’s Ba’ath party did.

  57. Santana said

    Guys-

    For what it’s worth I think the hold up right now on the NCV is Talabani and not Sadr….but…here is the angle….see- Moqtada went to Tehran and they pressed him very hard to change his mind BUT….I think what happened is that he told Sulaimani that he can’t change his mind cuz he will lose credibility and his “Nationalist” reputation and his popular support.and….and ……etc….so it may be that they all decided in Tehran-“ok Sayed- you keep your position -for now at least- but let’s let Talabani derail it instead…he’s flaky and weak anyway…..and if he fails in stopping this -then you Moqtada will have to wear the Superman cape and save the day for wilayet al faqih…..cuz Iran WILL go down the drain if they lose Iraq.

    Just a hunch….

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