Iraq and Gulf Analysis

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

How to Dissolve the Iraqi Parliament

Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:51

I am no expert in Arabic grammar, but the latest confusion caused by a threat by Iraq’s prime minister Nuri al-Maliki to dissolve parliament is so simple to clear up that even I can do it.

Apparently, the culprit are English versions of the Iraqi constitution and in particular a mistranslation of article 64 which governs dissolution of parliament. It  should be emphasized at first that English versions of the Iraqi constitution cannot be relied upon since there is not an official one. Their only value is that they may be faster to skim through for an English-speaking reader if something needs to be located fast, whereupon the relevant part of the Arabic version should be consulted.

Here is the relevant clause:

يُحل مجلس النواب، بالاغلبية المطلقة لعدد اعضائه، بناءً على طلبٍ من ثلث اعضائه، او طلبٍ من رئيس مجلس الوزراء وبموافقة رئيس الجمهورية

A reasonable translation would read roughly as follows:

“Parliament is dissolved by an absolute majority of its members, based upon a request from a third of its members or a request from the prime minister with the consent of the president.”

Now, possibly due to the insertion of several commas in the Arabic versions, some take this to read this as “parliament is dissolved by an absolute majority… or by a request from the prime minister with the consent of the president.”

That, of course, is dramatically different since it would leave the executive in a far stronger position vis-a-vis the legislature. But is it right? Thankfully, we do not need to rely on non-existing Arabic punctuation rules to serve as arbiter in this case. Instead, relax, breathe easy, and look for prepositions in the rump sentence in the case an attempt is made to link the dissolution of parliament directly to the prime ministerial request:

يُحل مجلس النواب او طلبٍ من رئيس مجلس الوزراء وبموافقة رئيس الجمهورية

“Parliament is dissolved or a request from the prime minister and the president.” The preposition “by” is lacking. This sentence wouldn’t have passed a secondary school exam and it cannot be the Iraqi constitution. If the intention had been to give the prime minister the right to dissolve parliament with the mere consent of the president, the relevant clause would instead have read aw bi talab min rais al-wuzara. But it doesn’t. It just says aw talab min rais al-wuzara. In this case, the preposition “by” (bi) is exclusively linked to the “absolute majority” of the parliament. This makes it clear that the prime ministerial involvement relates to the procedure for introducing the motion about parliamentary dissolution to parliament itself, which in turn will make the big decision about dissolving the assembly.

At any rate, at this point there is nothing to suggest that Maliki’s comments should be seen as anything more than a threat (“he feels forced/under pressure to call early elections”). There is no indication that there is even presidential agreement to introduce the motion to parliament, and in any case Maliki would probably be unlikely to win it. He probably knows it; why would Iraqi parliamentarians risk their own privileges?

The more worrying point is the tone of Maliki’s comments after meeting with Ibrahim al-Jaafari last Sunday, asking parliament to clean up its act before questioning him. There is much to suggest that Maliki may have a stronger parliamentary base than his opponents claim, but language of the kind he used over the weekend may soon lead to the evaporation over any additional support he got recently from disgruntled Iraqiyya MPs unhappy with the no confidence proposal.

Much as his enemies appear unable to muster the 163 votes needed to unseat him, Maliki needs to understand that the implication of this is not that he himself controls 163 votes in the Iraqi parliament.

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79 Responses to “How to Dissolve the Iraqi Parliament”

  1. faisalkadri said

    There are many opposition people who wish for an early election, the real concern is who will be in the elections committee?

  2. Reidar Visser said

    And that hasn’t been decided yet. Maliki’s unhappiness with the current IHEC is probably another reason we should see this latest move as a bluff.

  3. Maybe it Has Been decided and is known by Maliki but no one else, then it is not a bluff :)

  4. Reidar Visser said

    So Maliki’s lawyer Tareq Harb disagrees with me on the above interpretation and believes Maliki only needs the consent of Talabani:

    http://www.alforatnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16302:2012-06-27-14-02-16&catid=36:2011-04-08-17-25-25&Itemid=54

    Supreme court chief Midhat usually ends up agreeing with Harb, but I think the constitution is a lot clearer here than, say, on article 76 on the role of the biggest bloc in nominating the PM.

  5. faisalkadri said

    I could have told you so.. And the result of the election is well known in advance, it is given in the Galup survey, plus or minus a couple percent for spicing up the data. Even the timing of the election is predictable: before the US presidential election in November.

  6. Samir Abdallah said

    RV,

    If Iraqiya plus Ahrar plus Kurd Alliance ministers submit their resignation, would that force the whole government to resign?

  7. Reidar Visser said

    Samir, as far as I understand the constitution, the only scenario in which the whole govt is considered resigned is if there is a no confidence vote in the PM.

    I know the Kurds in 2010 tried to make Maliki sign up to some kind of arrangement along the lines you mentioned, but without constitutional or legal implementation this has no legal significance, exactly like most of the other Kurdish demands to Maliki.

  8. observer said

    http://ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2012/6/govt2035.htm

    wow a think tanker who dares to be different and calls the spade by its real name.

    RV – this is the kind of forthright opinion I would expect you to have on this blog. But alas, you choose to ignore to connect the dots.

    If you were CNN and trying to maintain access, I would understand your inability to call a spade by its real name….But really why are you unable to call Maliki the dictator that he is?

  9. Reidar Visser said

    I agree with Kirk a lot, including on this. Note that “dictator” was in the headline; Kirk suggests we think of Vladimir Putin instead as a model for Maliki. (Kirk is by the way a lot more ruthless than me in describing the failed political strategy of Allawi et al. I recommend his newsletter to anyone interested in Iraq: http://www.insideiraqipolitics.com)

  10. observer said

    rv – i have no problem with people criticizing Allawi or Iraqia. I have a problem when people try to assign the failure of Maliki and Da3wa to run the country to Iraqia and everytime we talk about Maliki, the likes of Mo, would bring in Allawi in comparison as if Allawi is responsible for the lack of electrical services or increase in oil production or even the corruption. Or that we are a tool of Turkey, Qatar and SA (oh and Israel). Don’t get me started.

    On Putin, I wish it were so. You are not even willing to acknowledge that much (this is the first time I see it in print in over two years of watching). WHat you (and the likes of expats like our bro Mo) is that you ahve no idea how deeply penetrated Da3wa is. and you know what the next step is? Yeh a theocracy. You guys can shrug your shoulders all you want, but it is there and it is real. Of course that will give the Kurds the excuse they need. adn then the Sunnis will have no choice but to leave and that will be the cleaving of Iraq. Yeh – you all will say it is impossible to have a theocracy in Iraq, but really, think, think, think….You are after all THINK TANKERS

  11. observer said

    oh by the way, i just remembered that I called Kirk out on the fact that he was not aware of the nuances of the relationships between Talabani, Barazani and Allawi – looong time ago.

  12. Reidar Visser said

    To Tareq Harb’s interpretation, I would just say that if you look closer at that paragraph of the constitution it is even clearer that it is simply talking about two different ways of requesting the parliamentary vote on dissolution:

    بناءً على طلبٍ من ثلث اعضائه، او طلبٍ من رئيس مجلس الوزراء وبموافقة رئيس الجمهورية

    The way “request” is twice put in the genitive underlines that they both relate to the immediately preceding “based upon”.

  13. observer said

    RV, when was the last time logic affected the political decisions of the Supremes in Baghdad. I wish I can have Sarmad Saraf come here and eat his words in defense of his uncle, the supreme of the Supremes, like he did last year when he claimed that the supremes are neutral in reference to the ruling on “electoral block” vs “parliamentarian block”, Anyway, it is history for now – bad history, but will be followed by more of the same. I myself have given up on the idea that Iraq will succeed as a model for federation and democracy. It will take a couple more generations to recover and there is simply too much blood now to forget. I hope I am proven wrong by events, but it is looking very bleak.
    peace

  14. Christian121 said

    Observer what evidence do you have of primary source documents,transcripts,party manifestos,or communications that prove that Iran and Khomoenism are so pervasive in Dawaa?

    I don’t believe that the KSA or Turkey run IS like it’s puppet FYI like some people do.
    It’s just that at the current moment with the evidence I have around me I don’t believe that Maliki’s Dawaa is Iran’s puppet either.

    Have you ever considered that the main reason Maliki wants to centralize power around him is because for the majority of his life he was hunted down by an organization that actively tried to murder him?

    Serious question here.

  15. Re da Caste said

    Politics in Iraq are a big joke, and it seems the people is not prepared for democracy. Iraq is still a clan-society that is led by tribal Chiefs. They need a strong dictator and they have got it again. That’s why parliament is such a week institution, when it should be the strongest.

  16. faisalkadri said

    Christian,
    Excuse me for jumping in between you and Observer but I am offended by your Serious Question. Maliki was hunted for most of his life does not justify his abuses, you are using the argument that justifies the abused turning to abuser.

    Re Da,
    ALL societies will behave like clan society given the right conditions, the U.S. encouraged Iraqi “tribal chiefs” and gave them more legitimacy than they deserve, thereby contributed to the situation.

  17. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    For the record, I too agree with much of what Kirk has to say.  I have never called Maliki a Jeffersonian democrat. I also think that most of the points Kirk has brought up are matters that RV has discussed over the past couple of years and was critical about (perhaps in not as colorful language— he is norweigian after all ;-)

    What baffles me is your insistence that RV label Maliki a dictator. Barely 1 month ago I called you out on this term and you said “I have not called Maliki a dictator… Iraq is a semi-democracy”.  I will have to look up the precise words you used but it was pretty close to that…at which point Santana almost had a cow and said of course Maliki is a dictator. 

    So you want RV to call him a dictator but you yourself won’t? Has something changed in the last month?

    As for your hypothesis (yes hypothesis —not fact) that Maliki wants to turn Iraq into a theocracy…please explain to me why Maliki would even want to do that? Seems to me that Dawa has it pretty good right now according to your inside info that they are embedded in every crevice of society? And Maliki is not stupid enough to believe he could enforce a theocracy on the KRG and sunni areas, yet he is doing everything in his power to limit the KRG from moving to independence. If he wanted a theocracy dont you think it would be more manageable with 80-90% Shiites (by having the KRG and sunnis break off)? 

    Regards
    M

  18. observer said

    Christian,
    You are mixing between me and Santana. My position is that Da3wa is an ideology based party the heart of which is Islamic Share3a, with particularly Jaafary tradition (i.e. you would call it she3a). The Iranian version is Wiliat al Faqeeh based theology. While the two philosophy vary in how much control the clergy have on the government, they are the saem in the hegemony of the Shre3a over every aspect of life and thus they are both in compatible with democracy in the current tradition. Yes you would have a choice in Iran and Iraq of the future, but your choice will be Islamic I or Islamic II. Case in point in Iran, is that the candidates must be vetted by Majlis Shura before they are allowed to run. So you have to wait for a “Gorbachove” moment to achieve any meaningful change. Once implemented, the conservativeness of the clergy will make change a Herculean task (note the position of the Vatican regarding Abortion or divorce or women’s role in Church).

    Anyway, on Iran – My position is different than that of Santana. They are allies more than anything else but there is hegemony of Iran over Iran through the penetration of the religious parties by operatives that are close to Iran or worse believers in Wiliat Al Faqeeh.

    Regardless, in the long term, the philosophy of any ideology based political party is “the end jsutifys the means”. Da3wa (and other religious based parties, be they sunni or she3a) want Sharee3a as the constitution of their given country (watch for Egypt, Tunis, Syria soon enough, and of course Iraq). This is the struggle of our generation and possibly the next two. You may shrug your shoulders and say that oh well, Muslims must develop their “own kind of democracy”. I object and vehemently to this strain of thought prevalent amongst western think tankers, but I need not go into that now.

    One main point for the DOS/DOD people and think tankers to contemplate here. Iraq under Da3wa will never be a strategic ally of the west ! Rather, you will find that the advanced weapons systems provided to Iraq will be reverse engineered by Iranian engineers and technicians in no time flat.
    peace

  19. Omar said

    “Now, possibly due to the insertion of several commas in the Arabic versions, some take this to read this as “parliament is dissolved by an absolute majority… or by a request from the prime minister with the consent of the president.””….Not really, the Arabic text in this case is quite unambiguous. I’m from Iraq btw, and Arabic is my native language.

  20. Reidar Visser said

    Thanks Omar. Unless I misudnerstand you completely, I assume that means you agree with my proposed reading of the clause. Maliki’s lawyer, Tareq Harb, takes the opposite view: http://www.alforatnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16302:2012-06-27-14-02-16&catid=36:2011-04-08-17-25-25&Itemid=54

  21. observer said

    Mo,
    You watch the event unfold and then come back to me. If we do nto get the NCV, Da3wa wins and it is over. Then you call can have all the theoretical debates you want in your ivy towers as wo who and why the game was lost. I am not interested in such a theoretical debate. All I will tell you is that I am not interested in living in a country run by Da3wa or any other religion based party. You thin Da3wa has respect for the constitution HA…

    On dictatorship. dude, semi-democratic is the same as dictatorship headed. It is need not be a dictatorship headed by ONE person, it is the dictatorship of ONE party. Ok so Maliki will not be there for more than two terms (assuming that he does not get a chance for a third term, or be clones as Abbas Biati wants do (what a LUGGI!!!), the next dude is going to be Ali Adeeb, or whatever. You are fond of spilling hairs (as any self respecting academician would be) but you are missing the forest for the tree (sorry for mixing metaphors), and to that extent, you seem to put a weight on the difference between the south and the west, but you want Baghdad to be strong and power centralized. If Da3wa controls Baghdad and every freaking DG has to be a Da3wa member, and Baghdad has hegemony over the provinces then what is the difference between that and a dictatorship. Or is your standard bearer of dictaorship is Saddam and unless Maliki reaches the level of Saddam you are not willing him a dictator.

    Look, part of why i advocate devolution of power to provencies is that I have seen it work in the US and it is also counter to any attempt by ANYBODY to be a “semi-dictatorship/semi-Demoracy”. A strong center (as you and RV advocate) is just not good for anybody.

    On NCV – so what is your position on the pronouncements by Harb and Maliki. Do you agree that early elections is the answer?
    Peace

  22. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    You said: “I am not interested in living in a country run by Da3wa or any other religion based party. You thin Da3wa has respect for the constitution HA…”

    My response: I don’t care if a country is run by a religious-based party or secular party, as long as freedom of religion is respected and religion is not shoved down the throats of people. My uncles (as shiite ex-baathists) are as secular as they come, and they have colonel-level ranks in Iraq today. Nobody is indoctrinating them with Da3wa ideology. In Saddam’s Iraq, they would frequently go to Baath party meetings; and now, they have nothing to do with Da3wa or religion. My uncle told me that that the only pressure he was under was to deliver 10,000 USD on a monthly basis from bribes collected by his men to his senior officer. When he failed to do that, he was transferred out of a nice desk job to a riskier security job where he now faces a greater threat to his life. This is all a money and power game—and he tells me it is no different than when he served under Saddam with respect to the stinking corruption. Religion has nothing to do with it. I am far more worried about corruption.

    Observer, you said: “ If Da3wa controls Baghdad and every freaking DG has to be a Da3wa member, and Baghdad has hegemony over the provinces then what is the difference between that and a dictatorship.”

    My response: Dictatorship is like pornography—you know when you see it. To me the big picture is that you cannot have votes of no confidence in a dictatorship. If you guys cannot summon an absolute majority and lament the reality that you cannot use constitutional means to remove Maliki, that does not make him a dictator. If he surrounds the parliament with tanks and prevents you from holding a NCV, then he is a dictator.

    Da3wa is enjoying the “spoils system” as the party of the PM, that may not be fair, but it happens even in the good ole USA. When there is a new administration, every senior member of all the departments is fired or must resign, all the ambassadors are changed, and many plumb agency positions are all filled by loyal party supporters irrespective of their qualifications (remember Bush appointed a Republican horse show judge to be head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency). Iraq and Da3wa is an extreme version of this. Are you telling me that in ministries run by Iraqiya or Sadrists or Kurds, that positions are not preferentially given to people who have political connections to those respective parties?

    Observer, you said: “A strong center (as you and RV advocate) is just not good for anybody.”

    My response: We have been through this before..some issues like natural resources require central govt input, others do not. If the Kurds decide to build damns everywhere and deprive the south of water, the central govt needs to step in. I do agree that decentralization in certain govt sectors is a good thing as well.

    Observer said: “On NCV – so what is your position on the pronouncements by Harb and Maliki. Do you agree that early elections is the answer?”

    My response: I am flattered that you would ask my worthless opinion on this matter, but I agree with RV (as I usually do). I doubt that we will ever see an early election or a NCV (the votes for a NCV are not there any more and the sadrists have all but stated that they don’t even want to be questioners in the istijwab).

    it would be a travesty if istijwab never comes to fruition. Maliki needs to be held accountable even if there are not enough votes for a NCV (that’s the job of parliament). I wish there was istijwab once every two weeks for that matter. It’s far better to do that than flying off to Riyadh or Doha and criticizing Maliki while standing next to a gulf dictator (when is the last time they tried to have a NCV in those countries?).

    Regards,
    M

  23. observer said

    Mo, I really do not have the time to be engaged in a long theoretical debate. I will give it a shot but really I need some peace of mind so you can go on boxing with shadows for the next two months.

    Excerpts from your dissertation:
    “as long as freedom of religion is respected and religion is not shoved down the throats of people.”

    and it ins’t now? have you read the books produced by min of education? Have you heard of the 3abaia wearing campaign? have you heard of the over 50 off dyas a year being given for observation of religious holidays?

    “My uncle told me that that the only pressure he was under was to deliver 10,000 USD on a monthly basis from bribes collected by his men to his senior officer”

    and under whose control is the army? Iraqia?

    “When there is a new administration, every senior member of all the departments is fired or must resign, all the ambassadors are changed,”

    Wrong! there are civil service jobs and employees and there are political appointees. i need not explain the system to you, go research it. Further, are you telling me that consecutive administration bother to insert DG (that would be equivalent to Grade 12 and above or so) in the whole civil service structure. They would need maybe 20,000 professionals on stand by and employed in think tanks ready to take over new jobs every four years.

    On istijwab, I was informed today that it is still on line and being planned for. The question is if Maliki is going to even allow it to take place without causing a constitutional abortion like getting a ruling from Midhat that affirm’s harab’s interpretation. I look forward to your mental gymnastics justifying the new ruling or better yet, oh my goodness – Observer was right. Only by then, it would be too late to do anything ;)
    peace

  24. Christian121 said

    “Christian,
    Excuse me for jumping in between you and Observer but I am offended by your Serious Question. Maliki was hunted for most of his life does not justify his abuses, you are using the argument that justifies the abused turning to abuser.”

    I apologize for this misconception that I was defending Maliki’s abuses.I was just asking a question the way a journalist would.I should have asked the question “Like what some observers(people who think Maliki is paranoid because of his time as a revolutionary) have said ……….”

    I was under the impression(that I don’t believe anymore)that Observer was a bit of a silly person(but who’s still an Iraqi who would know more about this then I do,even if he has a wrong conclusion about what he knows)of the sort who believed that everything bad in Iraq was due to Iranian influence.The types I read about in the wikileaks docs who thought that the reason their trash wasn’t getting collected on time in 2006(yes 2006)was because the persian rafidah menace were out to get them by letting them literally rot in their own filth.

  25. Christian121 said

    “Christian,
    You are mixing between me and Santana”

    Whoops.Sorry! :(

    “My position is that Da3wa is an ideology based party the heart of which is Islamic Share3a, with particularly Jaafary tradition (i.e. you would call it she3a).”

    So your quarrel with Dawaa is that it is a religious party in general?Looking back at your previous posts,I take it you are a secularist correct?Would you have wanted a constitution based on a civil code alone in Iraq minus the part saying that religious law gets to play a basis for law along with the “principles of democracy”?Do you think such a civil code would have actually garnered popular support/legitimacy in Iraq?

    Serious question.

    “Anyway, on Iran – My position is different than that of Santana. They are allies more than anything else but there is hegemony of Iran over Iraq through the penetration of the religious parties by operatives that are close to Iran or worse believers in Wiliat Al Faqeeh.”

    As a part-time observer of how the Iranians hilariously try and fail to spread influence in neighboring Afghanistan(where the locals actually like Americans and where we have permanent military bases) my gut tends to agree with this about the whole penetration issue.Every “Al Quds day” the imbeciles go out and hire the local merry band of obviously starving street children and put Iranian flags and portraits of the Ayatollah Khomeini in their hands while some imported shill mullah with a Persian accent tries to speak in Pashto about how the people who guard the Afghan girl’s schools from being gassed,secretly want to burn Qurans and murder civilians for………………some reason(usually having to do with the dastardly Jews or Hindus or something). They then put up portraits of Khomeini or when they feel really brave Ahmadinejad up on posters and then watch every year in a row,the local Afghan youth and students vandalize the posters in incredibly humorous fashion(I heard once that a giant penis was once mysteriously found astrewn the Ayatollah Khomeini’s open hand as he faced Palestine in open embrace for instance) with xenophobic anti-Persian demonstrations always following this at the Iranian Embassy in Kabul protesting the Iranian “interference” in Afghanistan.

    Now stories about giant penises and Khomeini aside,my point is that I have no doubt the Iranians *try* to have the degree of influence you ascribe to them in the Dawaa party(though it is undeniably true they have legitimate influence in the rest of the NA),what I’m not so sure of is whether or not they actually have *decisive* influence,the “hegemony” you speak of across the country as a result of their attempts.I don’t even think Maliki talks that much about religion these days,does he?He’s been trying to take a nationalist line after all.

    “This is the struggle of our generation and possibly the next two.You may shrug your shoulders and say that oh well, Muslims must develop their “own kind of democracy”

    And I believe you.And no I actually personally despise those Americans and westerners who hold condescending culturally imperialistic views about foreigners and middle easterners in particular whom believe that certain people’s don’t “deserve” or “get” democracy and “never” will.I have a saying of mine that goes that a man who doesn’t believe in elections abroad in his heart doubts it for himself at home.I’ve never been proven wrong in this regard.And I sadly I don’t expect to.

    ‘I object and vehemently to this strain of thought prevalent amongst western think tankers, but I need not go into that now.
    One main point for the DOS/DOD people and think tankers to contemplate here.”

    Well as an American who is very conscious of how badly stupid advice from think tanks and DOD/DOS officials ruined Iraq,I don’t know whether to be flattered or insulted that you compared me to one.
    Erm……..thank you I suppose?

    “Iraq under Da3wa will never be a strategic ally of the west”

    And now somebody from Iraqiya Slate who is a secularist has just appealed to my sense of sentimentality as an American!Surprise Surprise!This has never happened to me before!
    You wouldn’t happen to be a card carrying member of the Iraqi National Accord would you,Observer?
    Or a personal relative of Ayad Allawi?

    -A curious American

  26. observer said

    Christian,

    Christian:”Would you have wanted a constitution based on a civil code alone in Iraq minus the part saying that religious law gets to play a basis for law along with the “principles of democracy”?Do you think such a civil code would have actually garnered popular support/legitimacy in Iraq?”

    The first draft of the constitution indicated that Shree3a would be THE PRINCIPAL SOURCE. We were able to modify it to take the “AL” out of the word and it became Share3a is A PRINCIPAL SOURCE. The islamists thought that they passed one by us, little did they know (or recall) UN Resolution 242 on the The Occupied Territories vs Occupied Territories. Oh what a difference an “a” makes !. The problem of course is that we have no judiciary worthy of being called “independent”. I think even RV has admitted that or maybe even Esquire Mo, Maliki’s personal lawyer on this board, agrees that we have no independent judiciary in Iraq. The only safety valve we have right now is the commitment of the Kurds to secularism but even that is coming into question with recent moves by Barham Salih and Nejravan Barazani to accomodate the increasingly popular Islamic Kurdish Parties.

    Christian: “I don’t even think Maliki talks that much about religion these days,does he?He’s been trying to take a nationalist line after all.”

    Talk and action are two different things, and Da3wa is not just Maliki. I will answer you the same way I answered Mo. Take a look at the curriculum of elementary and and secondary education. Tell me about the instructions in government offices on women clothes. I can go on. As taking “nationalistic line” – No he is taking a power grabbing stand, and selling as a nationalistic stance.

    On the startigic allies of the west in the middle east. In general and not in Iraq, I see the attempts of he DOS to co-opt Islamic parties as amateurish. My take is that the Arab Spring is only good if we can have elections and change of government periodically in peaceful manner. What I fear the most is the repeat of Iran’s experience in 78-80. They wrote up a constitution that allows for elections, but the choices are dreadful. Saddam used to have elections too, but rigged elections are worst that no elections at all. Or no choice at all.

    I suppose some anti american would say that even the US does not have real choice – you can choose between a conservative (i.e. Democrat) and an ultra-conservative (i.e. Republican).

    Regardless, in Iraq we do have elections, but the last two were full of violations and ballot stuffing and even as a last attempt ballot box burying and worst still, nullifying. That can all be fixed with time, if we do not have a strong party that controls all aspects of life. What we have in Iraq is Da3wa shrimping everybody else in the she3a street and pretty soon it is going to be a Goliath and we have no David to slay it with ;). That is why the Sadris are moving because they know that they are the next victims of Da3wa.

    back to America/west strategy in the middle east. I think it is great to see the US supporting the end of the era of president for life. I look forward to the day when the same is done vis-a-vis the kings of Saudi, Bahrain, and the emirates, but be ware that the replacement is going to be Salafis, Muslim Brotherhoods, and all sorts of Islamic streaks that are mainly intending to have Share3a as the constitution. That is the route we are on right now in Egypt and Lybia and we are on in Iraq as well. If nothing is done to support secularists then we are destined to watch the next 40 to 50 years unfold in a new form of tense relation between the Middle East and the rest of the world. Can the west afford this with over 50% of the world oil (and income from that oil)? I wonder. I am not smart enough to figure it out. I hope your lot in DOS/DOD are in fact smart enough and have a plan – though I doubt it very much. I see the US mostly reacting these days without a clear cut plan with goals that dictate the steps.
    Peace

    PS
    no I am not a member of any party nor am I related to Allawi either by blood or marriage ;) – nice try though (and for the record, i am American first, second, and last – no hyphen for me thanks)

  27. Santana said

    We all know that the estejwab route(questioning of scumbag Maliki) is all that is left for Iraqiya, the Kurds and others cuz Talabani is still hiding in Germany hoping “it all just blows away”….so what Maliki is doing now is trying to find any means possible to squirm out of it….the DOS recently told me ((and Beecroft also conveyed that message) to Daawa that Maliki’s refusal to show up for the estejwab is a grave constitutional violation ….and a “Redline” for the U.S….so my obvious next question to State was ….Ok- so what are you guys gonna do when he gives the finger to everyone and rejects the estejwab!??? ……which BTW he will…..and I waited for an answer and that’s when you could hear a pin drop in the room…it was the most quiet and peaceful minute in the room……no answer- nothing…..no one knows…will it be a condemnation letter from Hillary to the scumbag ordering him to get back in line?? maybe- …if so-everyone should know the value of this letter….. the letter and 5 bucks can get you a six pack of beer- yup, that’s what it’s worth……….and Maliki will drink the beer and send a copy of the letter to Tehran with a note asking them- “What do I do now”? and they will reply…”tell DOS to “F” off…..!!

  28. Mohammed said

    Santana

    Even if Maliki does not show up for istejwab, what prevents parliament from holding the istejwab?

    You go through the procedures of announcing istejwab, give him an opportunity to show up. If he refuses, hold the vote anyways. I dont think the sadrists will go along though.

    Regards
    M

  29. Christian said

    “Oh what a difference an “a” makes !. The problem of course is that we have no judiciary worthy of being called “independent”. I think even RV has admitted that or maybe even Esquire Mo, Maliki’s personal lawyer on this board, agrees that we have no independent judiciary in Iraq.”

    Well don’t feel bad that your judiciary isn’t independent(erm,not TOO bad I mean,it’s still an atrocious thing after all)

    In the early days of the republic here in the States;after the organized forces of the rich old men(the Federalists) were kicked the hell out of office by the forces of the common people(the Jeffersonians/Democratic Republicans) the federalists made it a point to fuck us over by stuffing the SCOTUS and the courts with obvious but “impartial” Federalist judges.This as seen with the incredibly (and intentionally)vague language of the commerce clause and taxing authority that was written that way by that rich bastard Hamilton in the Constitution is still negatively effecting us to this day(See how Obamatax was rendered constitutional just yesterday by apparently giving the taxing clause unlimited power by Roberts).

    It will be a LONG time frankly until you fix your judiciary.God knows we Americans haven’t fixed ours.

    “The only safety valve we have right now is the commitment of the Kurds to secularism”
    And even that sadly won’t last long either.The Kurds will declare independence as soon as they have the economic basis(pipelines,guarantees from the Turks I suppose)to do so my secularist comrade in arms.Their lobbyists are incredibly persuasive in Washington and as an American my heart bleeds for them(and I know that I’m not the only one to put it mildly).

    “Take a look at the curriculum of elementary and and secondary education. Tell me about the instructions in government offices on women clothes. I can go on.”
    *sigh*
    Yeah I know.
    I just like to tell myself that Maliki’s not a idiotic religious hack from time to time because of how in the wikileaks he’d execute Iranians occasionally(being serious here)

    Us Americans do have to put a positive spin on a situation,no?

    http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116944

    Yek!Talk about spin!

  30. Christian said

    “As taking “nationalistic line” – No he is taking a power grabbing stand, and selling as a nationalistic stance.”

    Well at least he fought Gulf Arab influence,and even Syrian influence in 2009 when the Baathist Mukhabarat very openly murdered hundreds of Iraqis in bombings they orchestrated.Now for Iranian influence and stupid naive American influence……….he VERY much flirts with whatever side is most useful to him at the current moment.

    Should we Americans have just supported your relative (giggle) errrr Allawi with an iron fist in 2010 or what?On days that I feel the worst about Iraq I always feel this myself personally….

    What I’m definitely not sure of still,even on the days of worst news coming out of Iraq is whether or not the USA should have supported the NCV against Maliki.Considering how painfully close the opposition to Maliki was to 164 at the beginning of the process I can take a gander that us Americans still could have screwed over Maliki if we really wanted to,correct?I know our influence has declined and all,but surely we could have bribed or cajoled 10 to 15 MP’s in the Parliament just to ward off absenteeism and Maliki intimiidation,no?God knows our own bribery and intimidation in Afghanistan in 2001 is legendary by itself.The entire country of 30 million people was conquered by a couple hundred guys on horseback with suitcases full of money and laser guided missiles and their tens of thousands of heavily armed Afghan friends!Who says the Iranians are the only folks good at this business!!!

    And besides,Allawi said that if the NCV gone through he was out of the running because he’d want the NA to choose the next PM.The Iranian affiliated NA!!!
    Even Hashemi has said this!!!And who are the candidates they were thinking of?Chalabi and Jaafari?I thought we were trying to get rid of Iranian influence weren’t we?Of what benefit would the USA receive to having Maliki replaced by any of these guys?Talk about poor PR by IS!

    “On the startigic allies of the west in the middle east. In general and not in Iraq, I see the attempts of he DOS to co-opt Islamic parties as amateurish.”

    But these Islamic parties tell us they’ll be like the Turks.They wouldn’t lie to us would they? ;)

    “I suppose some anti american would say that even the US does not have real choice – you can choose between a conservative (i.e. Democrat) and an ultra-conservative (i.e. Republican). ”

    Ever since the Iron Curtain was set up and ESPECIALLY when the Wall fell,socialist and Marxist inclinations have been buried here in the States(all jokes about our President and Obamatax aside).So this is more due to the natural feelings of the vast majority of Americans not demanding a more leftist alternative to the current party system then it does have to do with people not having a “real” choice,my secularist friend.

    “Regardless, in Iraq we do have elections, but the last two were full of violations and ballot stuffing”
    Do you really think so?The UN said the last two elections were free of *major* discrepancies.If you’re talking about the shameless politicizing of the Debaathification Commission,then sure but I’m not so sure about wholesale Chicago style fraud here.Examples?

    “That is why the Sadris are moving because they know that they are the next victims of Da3wa.”
    Narcissism of the small difference between two types of opportunists,eh? :)

    “I look forward to the day when the same is done vis-a-vis the kings of Saudi, Bahrain, and the emirates,”

    Inshallah.

  31. Christian said

    “Can the west afford this with over 50% of the world oil (and income from that oil)? I wonder. I am not smart enough to figure it out. I hope your lot in DOS/DOD are in fact smart enough and have a plan – though I doubt it very much. I see the US mostly reacting these days without a clear cut plan with goals that dictate the steps.”

    Again with me getting compared to the DOS DOD types you leftist,secularist,humanist bastard! I would need to actually garner a salary for me to be called one of these buffoons.

    “PS
    no I am not a member of any party nor am I related to Allawi either by blood or marriage ;) – nice try though (and for the record, I am American first, second, and last – no hyphen for me thanks)”

    So are you an immigrant?Let me guess,you live in Michigan like all the other refugees and opportunistic exiles.How much do the Zionists and Hindus pay you? ;)
    Bastards haven’t paid me personally for a long time myself.But what do you expect from Jews? ;)

  32. observer said

    Christian,
    You are now competing with Mo for the longest posts competition. I am on the run this AM (oops, wink wink, time difference, ahem), so I will be brief and general.

    NCV was on and we did have the vote (and still do, despite public proclamations to the contrary), what was not calculated for by leadership is Talabani pulling a fast one. Mr. T has always been an Iranian stooge (history – review Kurdish civil war circa 95/96) and my personal warnings went unheeded with claims that Barazani has Mr. T. resignation, etc. Anyway, the problem we have is that the US does not want Iraq to be an issue in the elections (that has been our problem from day one, under Bush and under Obama), policy of the US in Iraq is dictated by local elections demands in freaking DC.

    Nevertheless, they seem to be proceeding with putting it to the parliament. I am predicting a move by the august court to make a ruling that justifies the desolving the parliament by a request of MP and agreement of Pres. Of course RV is going to condemn this as a clear violation of the constitution (and I will still ask where do I go to cash the condemnation checks).

    This will definitely make a huge problem in Iraq and during the elections season in DC. Why you ask? Well Maliki is now not under scrutiny of parliament. What do you think he is going to do when there is no parliament and he is in charge of the “care take” government. Oh, you can bet your bottom dollar that the elections commission is going to be intimidated, the whole government is going to be mobilized to support Da3wa in the elections and viola. You have a government by and for the Da3wa party (quite legally of course). The Kurds will move to separate. That leaves the Sunnis little choice but to seek their own region, and good by Iraq of the twenties century. The country can quickly devolve into Kurdistan, She3istan, and Jihadistan ala the former Yugoslavia. Check mate, Biden wins.
    Peace

  33. Lars said

    RV, “How to dissolve Iraq” is that going to be your next headline, or should we just ignore this article as nonsense or bad translation ?
    .. Barzani are intensive contacts with Biden to develop a future vision for an independent Kurdistan

    http://www.qeraat.org/ArticleShow.aspx?ID=4078

    “Sources close to the Kurdistan Alliance, the President of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, had several contacts in the past week with Vice President Joe Biden discussed the future of the Kurds after the announcement of their independent state”

  34. Reidar Visser said

    Lars, I think it would be prudent to disregard anything regarding supposed American support for an independent Kurdistan from “unnamed sources”.

  35. Christian said

    @32
    But sweetie,you still haven’t answered my very valid question about Maliki’s possible replacement.

    Who exactly would the *National Alliance* put up as PM to replace Maliki that would take up an Anti-Iranian(if not free of Iranian influence at least),relatively “moderate”,progressive,and “Pro-American” line?

  36. faisalkadri said

    Christian,
    I don’t know how much you know about Iraqis but we have a glut of leaders, not a shortage. Maliki came from the bottom of the barrel and played by the rule for a while like you reminded us but now he doesn’t want to leave. Your conditions, which I presume are to safeguard U.S. interest and to be conducive to U.S. involvement, are unrealistic, the real problem is Maliki’s tenacious grip on power goes way beyond the constitution. And please don’t use the word “sweetie” in a condescending context.

  37. Reidar Visser said

    Faisal, my apologies for not catching that one. Sometimes I have to skim the comments very fast.

  38. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    Barzani and Kurds cannot hold rest of Iraq hostage with threats of partition. They basically are saying give us our 17% of the budget, and otherwise leave us the F alone to run our affairs as an independent country until turkey sees fit to allow us to formally declare our independence. Allawi is simply latching on to Kurdish discontent because he doesn’t have the required support in the rest of Iraq and he has a longstanding relationship with Barzani. Even  According to Santana (as an iraqiya man) and all the sadrists’ public pronouncements, the sadrists are no longer on board for NCV. So you can try all you want, but it will fail.  

    Maliki doesn’t even have to show up for istejwab, but nujaifi can still call for the vote once Maliki ignores the istejwab. But nujaifi should hurry, it’s almost ramadhan and nothing will get done then. I almost get the feeling that you guys are deliberately prolonging this fruitless agony.

    Even if Maliki bent over, the Kurds still want their own country. If turkey allows it, they will split. So why should the rest of Iraq be held hostage to Kurdish nationalism (it frankly borders on ethnic supremacism from the comments I see from Kurds on the twitter-sphere).

    By the way, you never answered my question about whether non-dawa run ministries employ party loyalists at the expense of non-political career civil servants. 

    RV do you agree that istejwab is an opportunity for the PM to answe parliament’s questions, and if the PM ignores this chance, it does not prevent parliament for asking the questions to an empty seat and then holding the NCV?

    M

  39. Reidar Visser said

    Mohammed, at first I thought the idea of a no-show istijwab was odd but I think you are right. Parliament has the right to make a no confidence vote subsequent to an “istijwab directed to the PM” meaning the istijwab is here reckoned as the request for the PM to show up rather than the act of asking questions. Actually, as far as I can see, if the PM fails to show up they can proceed to the no confidence vote.

  40. observer said

    RV, Faisel, no worries. I have a very thick skin, beside who the heck is this Observer guy any way.

    Darling Christian (and if you can’t take it, then do not dish it) –
    As Faisel said, there is plenty where bless his 5 O’clock shadow came from. Start with Mahdi, and then you have Bayan Jabur, adn then you ave Baha Aaraji (assuming you can even pronounce these names in your broken IIIIraqi English). (you want to go that route, bring it own sweat heart)
    Besides, it is not American interests that is at the heart of this struggle, it is the preservation of whatever little gains Iraqis got from the uncounted lives lost (both the hundreds or thousands iraqi, and the 5000 some Coalition forces).

    Bro Mo,
    The istijwab is on, and regardless of what you read in media, the sadris are on ;). So chill, and keep watching, though stop reading Qeirata or Fursan al Amal ;).

    On DG’s from Da3wa, go check out a small ministry as the ministry of culture or environment and come back and tell me how many below 30′ years old DG’s are employed or “special consultants”.

    You know dude, it is not my responsibility to lead you to the water. You are a die hard supporter of Da3wa regardless of your assertions otherwise. It is your job to prove that Da3wa and Maliki are as clean and as pro Iraq (as opposed to SHewa doctrine) and strong Iraq as they claim to be. It is not my responsibility to answer your poison pen questions. I realize that you strategy is offense while proclaiming neutrality, but I read right through your bs about neutrality from day one. For once, you “religious” supporters have the courage of your convictions and speak with sincere words and stop this BS of proclaiming to be neutral when you are a mile away from even being even handed.
    Peace

  41. observer said

    RV, I have to admit that I did not count on the “no show” scenario, nor do I recall it being discussed. Would he have the guts to do a “no show”. I wonder ? he may very well has such balls when he knows that he ain’t going to survive and wants to create “they stole the game” scenario. Anything is possible form now on.

    Harb and Midhat can go on with their “interpretations”. ;) we could care less. Let Iraq be divided if that is what Da3wa and Iran and the US want. You can see from Mo’s answer that he wants the Kurds in, but on his own term. That is no different than any die hard Da3wa member. Huh. Talk about democracy all you want, it is action that counts, not words. If I were a Kurd, I would tell the likes of Mo, you can have the rest of Iraq and leave us the “hell” alone.

    Peace

  42. observer said

    Oh and mo, You have no idea what the nature of relation between Allawi and Barazani is, so stop this BS of proclaiming to know what the motivation fo Allawi is for working with the “kurds’, as if the Kurds is a homogenous mix. Christ, have you seen what Mr. T has done?

    RV, I am really tired of dealing with the likes of your friend Mo. If you wish, I can just send you private message and end this endeiss fickle stupid debates that lead to no where.
    Peace

    .

  43. Reidar Visser said

    Guys, please be kind to each others. Derogatory forms of address will inevitably raise suspicion about a hollow argument or line of reasoning. I should have intervened earlier but the question about who started it is useless, as is tit for tat escalation.

    Observer, I am grateful for contributions regardless of format but would strongly recommend that you keep posting. Whatever you may think about your debate opponents here, please remember that the blog readership is much wider and that only a fraction of readers make comments. In other words, I think your comments are appreciated by many “silent readers” so please keep them coming if you can, whenever you have the inspiration.

  44. Christian said

    “Christian,
    I don’t know how much you know about Iraqis but we have a glut of leaders, not a shortage.”

    I am quite aware of this FailsalKurdi;if you would take a gander over at the conversation Observer and I just had,I discover that he’s a secularist just like me and that he detests Maliki not just for his monopolizing of power but his religious centric *ideology*.
    Observer supports the NCV.A NCV that would allow the NA(the Iranian affiliated NA……)to choose the next PM.So as a secularist I’m asking another secularist why exactly we wouldn’t have the same problem with replacement Maliki a few years if not a few months from now if we allow the NA(particularly the opportunistic Sadrist trend led by Iraqi Huey Long over here which was most vocal in vouching for NCV) to choose another religious Iranian affiliated shill.
    And this was a a point made by RV a few threads back,Maliki and the Dawa are actually some of the most independent from Iran in the entire NA!!!
    So who’s to say we wouldn’t be going in circles here?

    “Maliki came from the bottom of the barrel and played by the rule for a while like you reminded us but now he doesn’t want to leave.”

    Why yes,he played a very good role as a religious democrat revolutionary in the Iraqi Opposition.Now is his style of religious democracy really better for Iraq over the long term?No,of course not,and religious democracy isn’t good long term for ANYWHERE.

    “Your conditions, which I presume are to safeguard U.S. interest and to be conducive to U.S. involvement, are unrealistic”
    NO.I repeat NO.These are *not* my interests.You probably thought that from when I said something along the lines of “the next PM must be “Pro-American”. By that I meant someone who would be liberal,progressive,supportive of a Bill of Rights,and/or secularist.There is a *huge* difference between being Pro-American and being supportive of whatever idiot is currently residing in the White House and their “interests”,as what some people sadly associate “pro-Americanism” with these days.

    “the real problem is Maliki’s tenacious grip on power goes way beyond the constitution”
    Maliki is a usuper of the Iraqi Constitution who is mildly independent from Iran.The political conditions of the NCV are that the NA(mostly the Sadrists being that they were the most vocal against Maliki and their large political size) will get to choose the next PM.This will be good for Iraq in the long term how exactly?At best it appears we get a change of the guard for a while and at worst a PM who will actually be in bed with the Iranians even more.

    . “And please don’t use the word “sweetie” in a condescending context.”

    I honestly didn’t mean that disparagingly.It’s just that as secularists both me and Observer have worked together for so long in the same office for our Jewish Hindu overlords(great benefits and retirement plan by the way!) that sweetie is my pet name for him now! ;)
    Nothing bad here.

    (But seriously,I’m not being mean)

  45. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    Again you resort to insults. Notice that I never insult you, but I have even a thicker skin than you my friend.

    And for the umpteenth time, I have NEVER claimed to be NEUTRAL.  I tell you flat out that I do not support Allawi or Barzani’s policies. I agree with some of Maliki’s policies and disagree with others.  I agree that Dawa has many corrupt members, but do not believe any of the other parties have any better of a track record with respect to the ministries they run. You call that what you want. 

    Again, I repeat I have never called you a liar or hurled an insult at you, and if you can cite evidence to the contrary, I would gladly apologize. Our differences are policy related. 

    If you have the “either your with us or your against us” attitude, that’s your problem. Every time RV has criticized Maliki, I have largely agreed. But I would rather let Maliki finish his term out, and then he should not run again for PM. I won’t vote for him for a third term. But I prefer him for the next two years in comparison to the alternatives (including all those people you mentioned).

    Regards
    M

  46. placebo12 said

    Mohammed – although it pains me to have to jump into your discussion with Observer here, I have to point out a couple of ironies from your posts above.

    1. We should accept Da’wa filling DG posts to their advantage since this is a part of the spoils system and other parties will / should act similarly – so it’s OK because you assume others do it? And it’s OK because it’s done in a completely different (American) context? You should learn that defending an act with reference to others is not a defence in itself; instead it is a poor excuse.

    2. Your points on Kurds holding the rest of Iraq “hostage” – you need to make up your mind here. One moment, you’re defending the actions of your preferred grouping of clowns on the basis that they’re only acting in their own rational self-interest (which you seem to hope at some moment will magically align with that of the Iraqi people). The next moment, when another political group seems to be doing the exact same thing you criticise them for it. At least the Kurdish parties actually seem to align their long-term goals with those of their people; I’m just not so sure we can say the same for the rest of Iraq.

    I’d love to delve into the other things you’ve said further, but considering the circular nature of your arguments this would take us nowhere.

  47. Ali W said

    Reidar if an election takes places tomorrow, wouldn’t you think Maliki and dawa would achieve greater gains due to his current popularity in eliminating Hashemi from the political scene? And with economic growth forecast by IMF at 11% this year, many south of Baghdad would support him in greater numbers than before, stealing the seats from the smaller Shiite parties?

  48. observer said

    Mo,
    you support Maliki. Not supporting Allawi or Barazani has nothing to do with your arguments. Period. End of discussion. Oh and by the way, aligning yourself with RV is just ingratiating. If you so much agree with him, then you do not need to contribute and just watch the debate between me and him.

    I am not going to spar with you in circular fashion any more as I neither have the time nor the inclination. I am no longer on daily contact with the leadership so I will hear things after the fact. As RV suggested I will post when I am inspired to do so, but your debates inspire me NOT. When I have information that will enrich the debate and does not endanger our strategy, then I will certainly share, but I will share privately with RV what I think is important in understanding the moves of each block.

    Christian. Your presumption that Da3wa is not in support of Iran is wrong. Look at actions and not words. If Maliki is not god’s gift to Iranian strategic interests why did they spend so much capital keeping him in place – pray tell since you seem to be so in tune with the different components of NA. Your arguments are no different than those of the brin trust in DOS. Tell me about the money being diverted from iraq into Iran. Tell me about the money being spent to keep Assad in place a man who not more that a year ago Maliki wanted to take to court. Look at actions and not words. The likes of Maliki work with Taqia (go research what that concept is).

    Placebo – I look forward to Mo’s gymnastics answering your questions. More than likely, he will ignore them like he ignored previous questions.

    All – the position in Iraq is a danger to democracy and to a unified, federal Iraq. Maliki;s usurpation on power, morphing of the constitution and demagoguery is very much similar to what Melosovich did in Yugoslavia prior to the civil war there which ended in fragmenting the country not to say anything about the lost lives. He is attempting to dominate the she3a street using the power of the purse as if the government belongs to his party. He is not letting go because he knows that the corruption files will destroy his party of ever coming back to power and he would rather see Iraq divided than be out of power. Of course he is going to blame everybody else but never admit his fault. Regardless, we know that if he dominates the she3a street then the Kurds and the Sunnies have no where to go but to separate in their own regions which is ok if it can be done peacefully. But he is not going to let it happen peacefully. His moves in the army (and the story about advising to wait for the F16 is NOT a made up story) is a repeat of the bloody history of Iraq. Speaking for myself, I would rather see Iraq fragmented than see more blood shed.
    Peace

    And Mo, what insults are you referring to? I re-read my post to you and I see no insults unless you are one of those who can dish but do not expect same to be dished back right in your face?

  49. faisalkadri said

    Christian,
    I don’t want to go to details but it seems to me that I could clarify a couple of points.
    My main gripe against Maliki is not his relationship with Iran, its his flaunting of the constitution, and the NCV is a constitutional practice with particular importance. I think many people will agree that Allawi and Iraqiya need a strategy but no strategy can succeed if the opposite who swore to uphold the constitution does not play by the rules, there are numerous examples of this, some of the most significant are not widely known.
    As for being mildly independent of Iran, that’s one level of interaction, there are and will always be invisible levels.

  50. Mohammed said

    Placebo:

    You said: “We should accept Da’wa filling DG posts to their advantage since this is a part of the spoils system and other parties will / should act similarly – so it’s OK because you assume others do it? And it’s OK because it’s done in a completely different (American) context? You should learn that defending an act with reference to others is not a defence in itself; instead it is a poor excuse.”

    My response: I have appropriately condemned Da3wa corruption. I am merely pointing out that Da3wa opponents are no better when it comes to corruption. Why should I support their efforts to remove Maliki if they behave no better? Here is the kicker—they really don’t need any excuse…as long as they can muster the support in parliament, then even if Maliki was a holy as the Pope himself, they have the constitutional right to remove him. Only, I get sick and tired of the hypocrisy. When/if Maliki or Da3wa are guilty of malfeasance, I condemn it. The anti-Maliki people on this forum think people like Allawi and Barzani walk on water. So no—it’s not OK for Da3wa to behave in a corrupt way, but don’t tell me the other side is any better, because they’re not. Come up with a different reason to get rid of him.

    Placebo you said: “The next moment, when another political group seems to be doing the exact same thing you criticise them for it…at least the Kurdish parties actually seem to align their long-term goals with those of their people; I’m just not so sure we can say the same for the rest of Iraq.”

    My response: I have never said that Barzani was not acting in the kurds interests, but he is doing it at a cost to the rest of Iraq. So forgive me if I don’t support him. When you guys want to compare Barzani with Talibani, at least Talibani was not hugging Saddam in 1996 like Barzani did—after Halabja mind you! Barzani invited Saddam’s troops in 1996 to the Kurdish region, and Saddam used that opportunity to kill many people in the iraqi opposition there too! Barzani has a habit of selling out Iraqis for his gains—so I will never trust him. He wants independence for Kurdistan, and he has pretty much stated this outright. If that is Barzani’s goal, that is his prerogative, but I certainly wouldn’t give him an inch on concessions if I was the PM, and I would minimize Barzani’s influence on selecting a PM for Iraq. Quite simply, Barzani’s interests are not aligned with my Baghdadi relatives’ interests (or the rest of Iraq for that matter), so I oppose him. There is nothing circular about that reasoning.

    Regards,
    M

  51. Christian said

    “Darling Christian (and if you can’t take it, then do not dish it) -”
    What exactly are you talking about?When have I proven to ” not be able to take it”?
    And what exactly do you think I am dishing?

    “Darling Christian (and if you can’t take it, then do not dish it) –
    (assuming you can even pronounce these names in your broken IIIIraqi English). (you want to go that route, bring it own sweat heart)”

    Now I feel like FaisulKurdi looking at my posts.I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not.I for one like to use emoticons to signify my sarcasm,you Zionist shill ;)

    “As Faisel said, there is plenty where bless his 5 O’clock shadow came from. Start with Mahdi, and then you have Bayan Jabur, adn then you ave Baha Aaraji”

    Very well then,Jesus guys,all I wanted to have was the question asked about Maliki’s replacement answered.And that you did;there is now a vaguely logical reason to support the NCV from the long term perspective(and now that there is,you can count on the American government to not actually do it).

    This of course hopes that Iraqi politics won’t end up screwing up anything else about a replacement PM(Ministry of Antiquities?I WAS PROMISED THE OIL MINISTRY!) and that the NCV can be even established without cajoling and intimidation from the Iranians and Americans ruining everything.

    Though as we bicker here the comments(much like Maliki’s opposition in general is bickering),it appears as if Maliki is strengthening his base of course,and as RV has pointed out time and time again,Maliki is getting IS splinters from MP’s who don’t like(in RV’s view) the toleration of Kurdish self-determination (or unjust irredentism depending on your political point of view) by the IS leadership.This strengthens Maliki’s negotiating position in Parliament and no doubt makes him less dependent on foreigners for a bastion of last support.

  52. placebo12 said

    Mohammed – you did exactly what I expected you to do and what Observer called you out on earlier.

    You ignored the LOGIC of my question and focussed instead on the personalities. I’m not talking about individuals here. Do you know why? Because unlike Observer, Santana and a few others I cannot claim to know the motivations behind the actions of our blessed politicians, nor do I attempt to clarify my views on the subject by stating the thoughts of my cousin in Baghdad. That is pointless and utter speculation at best.

    I did not ask you to support Barzani. I didn’t even mention him. I asked you what the difference is between one group pursuing their agenda (the Kurds in this example) and another group (Maliki & Da’wa) doing the exact same thing. To me there is none. Yet you have used this very same point repeatedly when trying to argue in defence of the many examples of the damage Maliki and Da’wa are doing to Iraq. So, again, what is the difference in logic here?

    P.S. – please stop using the “you guys” approach on this blog. Not everything nor everyone is black or white. It only serves to weaken your responses.

  53. placebo12 said

    Ali W – 11% growth means nothing to the Iraqi people. The problem with growth measures is that they cannot tell you how much of that growth is beneficial to the wider population; Egypt during the Mubarak years being the best example of this. As long as you don’t improve the key services that affect people’s lives – the most important of which is number of hours of electricity from the national grid – this will have no impact.

  54. Mohammed said

    Placebo:

    You asked: “I didn’t even mention him. I asked you what the difference is between one group pursuing their agenda (the Kurds in this example) and another group (Maliki & Da’wa) doing the exact same thing. To me there is none.”

    my response: Perhaps you did not understand my response, but I believe the answer is there, so I will say in more clearly. I agree both groups are pursuing their own agendas, but as I stated in my last response, I believe the stated agenda of one group (kurds and their allies) represents a greater threat to the interests of the majority of the iraqi people. And since you are a fan of logic—the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. The kurds seek independence, and it is only natural for them to pursue policies towards that end—and it will be at a cost to the rest of the Iraqi people. As stated to you in perhaps my first response a couple of months ago, I believe that Maliki has a vested interest in improving the standard of living of the majority of the Iraqi people because it will provide him greater popularity and support. I am willing to give him until the end of this term to deliver, and I do not want to change horses in midstream. His agenda is aligned with the needs of the many.

    So when you say there is no difference between the groups—I disagree. Barzani’s stated policies I believe will be detrimental to Iraq in the long-term and more likely to lead to Iraq’s weakening and partition. Observer seems to think that Da3wa hegemony will lead to Iraqi partition—I think he’s wrong. Hence, I support Maliki’s policies of a strong central government with respect to issues like natural resources and national security at this juncture in Iraq’s development. Over time, decentralization in certain government functions is preferable, but we are not there yet.

    BTW, in your response to Ali W, you mentioned the national electricity grid—while I agree that it is vital for the national grid to be improved, the GDP growth is extremely important to the average Iraqi too. A significant portion of people in Iraq get electricity through private generators (including my relatives). So while the grid may be giving them 6-8 hours, private generators may provide another 12 hours or more, and that makes all the difference in 40 C. heat when you need your AC on. People can only afford private electricity by having jobs that provide better salaries than before, and by the government subsidizing gas supplies for the private generators—and both are related to GDP.

    regards,
    M

  55. placebo12 said

    So Mohammed it comes down to this – you do not have a problem with a group pursuing their own agenda as long as this aligns with what you perceive to be in the interests of at least a majority of the Iraqi people.

    I can agree with you in principle, but that’s as far as I can go without being hypocritical. Your reasoning behind the statement above is amateurish at best, simply because I can apply it just as easily to any politician or political party; or even any context. Maliki may have a “vested” interest in convincing me his moustache and 5-day stubble is fashionable and that it would be of benefit to me and my friends if we all sported the same look. I know this because he regularly appears on television with it and reminds us how important it is to have a little facial hair. My friend tried it out the other day and didn’t note any noticeable difference to his daily life.

    You see Mo, Maliki can use rhetoric and insinuations (his “nationalist” stance for eg) as much as he likes – at the end of the day he has done nothing of value in his time and therefore your beliefs lack foundations. We’ve discussed the former quite a bit on this blog and you ultimately failed to provide any convincing evidence.

    On the GDP growth front – I’m not sure what you’re trying to argue here. I stated quite clearly that GDP growth measures are not necessarily aligned with the factors that actually make differences to people’s lives. Although I mentioned electricity as an example, there are dozens and dozens of others. Increases in salaries mean little when inflation is running at 8% and the remainder is eaten up the cost of obtaining fuel, however heavily subsidised. It’s also good to hear that your relatives’ have enough private electricity to run their AC, mine can only just about manage to run the ceiling fan which provides no respite from the heat.

    Btw if you haven’t read On Liberty by J.S. Mill I’d recommend you do. It might give you a little more insight when you argue that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. That statement can be used as a rallying call for many acts that I certainly would not stand for.

  56. Mohammed said

    Placebo:
    You said: “Maliki may have a “vested” interest in convincing me his moustache and 5-day stubble is fashionable and that it would be of benefit to me and my friends if we all sported the same look. I know this because he regularly appears on television with it and reminds us how important it is to have a little facial hair. My friend tried it out the other day and didn’t note any noticeable difference to his daily life.”

    My response: Your above example is wrong on two accounts: 1) obviously facial hair is absolutely important—and when I go to nightclubs, I have to beat the women off with a stick when I have a Maliki-style 5-O’Clock shadow, and 2) on a more serious note, I would never ask you to trust Maliki’s words when they defy common sense. So your counter-example is a poor rebuttal as it defies common sense. I put myself in Maliki’s shoes, and I would desire to be popular in the Iraqi street as it would give me an advantage over my political opponents, and hence more power and influence. As I have said previously, if Maliki improves oil output, electricity, and makes Iraq more secure he will simply demolish his political opponents even in the fairest election in the world (despite all the corruption that plagues Da3wa). Whether he succeeds in doing this by 2014 is another matter, but I think it is certainly common sense that he would be incentivized to do this.

    Then there is the nightmare scenario of Colin Powell’s “Pottery Barn Rule”—if Maliki breaks Iraq, he owns it (i.e. he will have to deal with the mess). Again, common sense would suggest that Maliki would not want such a headache of a “broken” Iraq (broken Iraq meaning civil war, roving militias, suicide bombers everywhere, oil fields pillaged, dozens of bodies on the streets of baghdad on a daily basis, etc). On the other hand, Barzani/Kurds would look at such a scenario and say: “Buh-bye Iraq, we don’t want any part of this mess, and we declare independence! Let the fireworks over Erbil begin!”

    Placebo you said: “You see Mo, Maliki can use rhetoric and insinuations (his “nationalist” stance for eg) as much as he likes – at the end of the day he has done nothing of value in his time and therefore your beliefs lack foundations.”

    My response: We can argue about this all day, but the fact of the matter is since Maliki has been PM in 2006, the Iraqi people are better off. You and I can disagree all day about the numbers and their ramifications, but in the end, see what the Iraqi people think.

    Check out: http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.com/2012/07/iraqs-prime-minister-shores-up-his.html

    regards,
    M

  57. Santana said

    To Mo and to all the Maliki supporters on here….read these two pieces and weep !

    I told the administration over and over again that if Maliki is unchecked then it WILL become a U.S campaign issue !!!!

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/2/ghosts-of-iraq-haunt-obama-campaign/

    http://mobile.washingtonpost.com/rss.jsp?rssid=615&item=http%3a%2f%2fwww.washingtonpost.com%2fworld%2fnational-security%2firaq-transition-raises-thorny-and-expensive-questions%2f2012%2f07%2f02%2fgJQATGMCJW_mobile.mobile&cid=-1&spf=1

  58. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    You said: “Oh and by the way, aligning yourself with RV is just ingratiating. If you so much agree with him, then you do not need to contribute and just watch the debate between me and him.”

    My response: I don’t agree with RV on everything, and many times he let’s your comments go without a rebuttal, and I will take you to task on them when RV may not.

    For example, Observer stated: “The likes of Maliki work with Taqia (go research what that concept is).”

    My response: Taqia is a very complex topic beyond the scope of this blog, but suffice it to say that by citing “Taqia” you are engaging in insulting religious insinuations. You have absolutely ZERO insight into what Maliki’s views of taqia are (nor do I know his views), and whether his views differ from Sistani. Basically, anti-shiite wahabbis have used the Taqia argument to state that ALL shia can never be trusted and are hypocrites (scare-mongering that shiites may “hide their true intentions”=taqia). Taqia as a concept is quite complex, and certainly even renowned scholars like Sistani would defend its use as the situation calls for. For a shiite explanation of Taqia the reader can see: http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6b/1.html

    Observer, you want to call Maliki a liar, go ahead—you want to call him a hypocrite, be my guest. But when you delve into criticisms of shiite theology to justify your suspicions of Maliki, you only show how out of touch you are with the shia population of Iraq (who—by they way—form a majority of the country). I let your prior turban-head comment slide, but I can’t let this one go.

    To keep this relevant to the current discussion about early elections, perhaps Maliki wants early elections not because he believes he is particularly popular, but he may realize that the shiite street is utterly turned off by Maliki’s opponents, and that may be the reason people may vote for Maliki—who is otherwise, a very flawed leader.

    Regards,
    M

  59. observer said

    Placebo,
    A better book would be Justice by Micheal Sandel. If you do not have time to read it, some of his lectures and there is a one hour program (BBC I think) with Micheal Sandel (harvard prof) explaining the difference between the different schools of thought (utilitarian, decart, plato, etc.) on the issue of justice and equality.
    Peace

    PS Just google “justice harvard sandel”….

  60. placebo12 said

    Thank you Observer I will check him out.

    Mohammed – Let me break this down for you. You are using assumptions to justify your opinions. Since this has been your methodology from time immemorial I am not going to keep on discussing this issue with you. I’m not sure what they teach in med school but it’s clear that the basic skills of debating 101 is not one of them.

    Here is why we keep repeating ourselves:

    1. You are ASSUMING that Maliki is motivated by popularity (if you can get yourself into his brain let me know, otherwise we will have to leave it at that)
    2. You are ASSUMING that the underlying reason behind a desire to improve services, security etc is to become even more popular
    3. You are ASSUMING that other politicians in Iraq do not think in exactly the same way (Kurds aside of course, since to you they represent a greater danger to Iraq’s stability than those in Baghdad…)
    4. Finally, here’s the killer punch – you are ASSUMING that this actually means anything when it comes to the core tenets of this debate. Namely producing a free, fair, just and efficient country that serves all Iraqis (if these are not criteria that you agree with, then let’s stop here).

    I will mention a simple example, although true to your style you will ignore the logic and write an essay about the differences in context instead. Hitler came to power fairly and democratically in 1932 following years of hyperinflation, instability and fatigue amongst the Germans resulting from taxing war reparations. He had every reason to be motivated by the same reasons that you repeatedly state in defence of Maliki and da’wa. In fact he sought engagement and popularity with the German people even more than Maliki has done so far. Without your knowledge of WW2, the “common sense” you describe would be exactly the same. However, instead he set about demolishing the remaining democratic institutions of the German state and redirecting them all towards himself and his party.

    Maliki is no Hitler yet, and I am not going to sit here and exaggerate the extent of the current problems. However, all usurpers of power have to start somewhere and you are being entirely naive to base your opinion on an argument lacking in foundations. I will leave it up to others who read this blog to decide what does and doesn’t make sense.

  61. Mohammed said

    Placebo:

    You stated: “Let me break this down for you. You are using assumptions to justify your opinions.”

    My response: Yes! Guilty as charged! Of course I am using assumptions to formulate my opinions. In a world where I have incomplete data, I am left with no choice but to make assumptions. The question that you really might want to ask is: how valid are my assumptions? You see, as a physician, when I see a patient presenting with certain symptoms, I formulate a diagnostic and treatment plan accordingly—based upon the MOST PROBABLE hypothesis that would explain the data in front of me. Can physicians be wrong? Certainly! And occasionally, we are right.

    In the engineering world, we call this “modeling” —where we create mathematical or probabilistic models to explain a physical system and “predict” its outcomes. Our predictions will be limited by incomplete and often noisy data, and how accurate our ASSUMPTIONS are regarding the system we are trying to model. Social scientists would use models even to predict political outcomes.

    So I don’t claim to know what’s going on in Maliki’s brain. My assumptions may be wrong, and your assumptions may be right. However, based upon all the data and opinions/assumptions of others that I have reviewed, I am comfortable with my current position.

    To summarize: even if I agree with you that Maliki ultimately desires more political power (I will even discount the possibility that Maliki is doing anything for altruistic reasons), I strongly believe that in a political system based upon elections, the core issues that matter to voters (such as services, jobs, and security) will be significantly factored into Maliki’s agenda.

    In my mind, the biggest assumption I am making (where there is a non-zero chance that I may be wrong) is in fact regarding the fairness and openness of future elections. After that assumption, the rest of my arguments I think are quite valid. I am certainly not alone in that assumption though; see the following:

    This is from the article that Observer sent a few days ago, and Observer stated: “wow a think tanker who dares to be different and calls the spade by its real name. RV – this is the kind of forthright opinion I would expect you to have on this blog. But alas, you choose to ignore to connect the dots.”
    —-

    http://ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2012/6/govt2035.htm

    Q: Iraq is set for two more elections in the next few years, one is for the provincial councils, and another is for parliament. What do you think they will look like, and do you believe they offer a chance to weaken or replace Maliki?

    I’ll answer the second part of the question first. The answer is yes, I think they’ll be open enough to offer voters a chance to at least weaken if not replace Maliki, because the other Shiite parties are strong and organized enough to prevent widespread fraud.
    —–

    Again, Kirk is also making assumptions and he may be wrong too. Thus, I look at other data (for example, the last election with Maliki as PM was essentially a “fair” election), and looking at the current NDI poll (see link in my previous post), I think Maliki will do quite nicely in a fair election compared to people like Allawi, so I don’t think Maliki has anything to fear in a fair election if it were held today.

    Could Maliki be another Hitler or Saddam in the making? Possible—but my educated guess is—NOT PROBABLE.

  62. Reidar Visser said

    Placebo, if we were to assume the existence of Hitler-like ambitions in every state leader that broadly shares Maliki’s semi-authoritarian characteristics (concentration of power, putting pressure on the judiciary, ignoring parliament etc) then conducting diplomacy internationally would become very difficult indeed.

    Kirk somewhere suggested Putin as a possible parallel.

  63. placebo12 said

    Reidar – I would have thought an academic like yourself would be better placed to note the nuances of my post. Hitler came to power via democratic means, much like Maliki. I’ve already said that Maliki is no where near reaching the same dizzying heights. Using Putin as an example would make no difference since what I am trying to demonstrate here is the logical fallacy behind assuming a democratically elected leader would seek further democratic legitimacy in future.

    Mohammed – I rest my case. You can stick to your assumptions, I will stick to analysing actual outcomes.

  64. Mohammed said

    There goes plan b, what’s plan C? More editorials in the Washington Times?

    http://www.aknews.com/en/aknews/4/315214/?AKmobile

    Politics -> Kurdish official: Withdrawing confidence from Maliki “impossible”
    03/07/2012 14:58
     
    ERBIL, July 3 (AKnews)- It is “impossible” to win the bid to withdraw confidence from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as most of the parties have drawn back from the bid, said second deputy for speaker of the House of Representatives.

    There are only Kurds and some MPs from the Iraqiya List who still demand withdrawing confidence from Maliki, said Aref Tayfur.

    Tayfur continued it is impossible to withdraw confidence from Maliki but in the House he will be interrogated anyway.

    Kurdistan Blocs Coalition (KBC) MP added the Sadr Current which sided KBC and Iraqiya in the bid against Maliki “was not serious from the beginning and when the time for withdrawing confidence came, it drew back.”

    This is the first official statement by a Kurdish official about the “failure” of the alliance of Maliki’s adversaries in attempts to oust Maliki.

  65. observer said

    Mo. Box with your own shadows. I told you that I am not interested in talking with you any longer. You need not bother with how connected I am to the people of these ancient land, as I need not bother pointing out to you that I am far more connected.

    All, on the issue of how ancient this land is. Would you be surprised to find out that Maliki is actually of Kurdish origin. Irony – no?

    Here is an article from a Blog by Nibras Kadhimi of INA of old. Was one of Chalabi’s guys (maybe still is). I will let his words speak for themselves (it is in arabic). I recommend that you visit his blog and read some of his thoughts (you need to know arabic), I do not agree with everything he says, but he is an example of expat Iraqis who are trying to make a difference here on the ground (as opposed to bro mo living the good life in DC and telling us how we should live ours and how much more connected to Iraq than us lowly anti maliki expats).

    http://www.imarawatijara.com/khawater_page/

    خاطرة اليوم (28 حزيران 2012): نسمع الكثير من انصار ائتلاف دولة القانون هذه الايام وهم يتقولون كلاما عنصريا جارحا ضد القومية الكردية، ولكم ان تطالعوا صفحات الانترنت والفايسبوك الممتلئة بهذا الخطاب العنصري الشوفيني. فما بالهم اذا تبين بأن “قائدهم” هو من اصل كردي ايضا؟ يرجع المالكي، حسب تسلسل انسابه، الى ورّام (ربما هورام) الجاواني الكردي، وهذا كان قائد الجند الكرد الذين آزروا دولة بني اسد المزيدية في الجامعين (الحّلة) قبل الف عام تقريبا. فإذا نظرنا الى المشجر المنشور من قبل الشيخ فاضل المالكي لنفسه في موقعه الرسمي، وهو من يلتقي مع نوري المالكي في جدهم قاطع “او گاطع”، وكلاهما يلتقيان مع آل كاشف الغطاء في جدهم “سيف الدين”، سنجد بأنهم يدعون الانتساب الى مالك الاشتر النخعي العربي ولكن من خلال الورام الجاواني الكردي، وهذا ينافي المنطق. عباس العزاوي (الذي لا استسيغه كليا ولكنني اقر بعلميته ودقته في تحري بعض الادعاءات) يقول بأن آل العلي في قرية جناجة (واسمها الاصلي قناقيا) هم من بني مالك من المنتفق، ولا يمتون بصلة الى مالك الاشتر النخعي. وبأن ادعاء النسبة هذه مطعون فيه، والعزاوي يضع اسبابا مقنعة في هذا الشأن. (عباس العزاوي، عشائر العراق، الجزء الرابع، ص 141-143، وقد ايد هذا الاستنتاج العديد من البحاثة والنسابة والمؤرخين لاحقا). واشير الى هذا لأن البعض يحاول استثمار مزاعم انتساب المالكي الى الاشتر لأغراض سياسية ودعائية. ولكن مشجرة اقرباء المالكي ترجعه الى الورام الجاواني الكردي، فنسبه هو نوري بن كامل بن محمد حسن بن حمادي بن محسن بن سلطان بن گاطع بن الشيخ محمّد الجناجيّ الثاني بن الشيخ يحيى بن مطر بن سيف الدين المالكيّ بن محمّد جمال الدين بن عبداللّه النجفيّ بن الشيخ محمّد الجناجيّ الأوّل بن ابراهيم بن هُديب ـ بالتصغير ـ بن صرحد بن صقر بن فرج ( وهو جدّ آل فرج ) بن عليّ حسام الدين دفين الفيحاء بن جعفر مجير الدين بن مسعود غياث الدين بن الحسين بن الأمير أبي الحسين الفقيه الزاهد والعالم العابد الشيخ ورّام قدّس سرّه ابن فراس بن أبي فرّاس ورّام بن حمدان بن عيسى بن أبي النجم ابن ورّام بن أحمد بن مدين الجاواني الكردي. ويبدو بأن المؤرخ الكبير الدكتور مصطفى جواد (عليه الرحمة) قد تطرق الى موضوع ربط الجاوانيين بمالك الاشتر (حسب التسلسل الآتي: ورّام قدّس سرّه ابن فراس بن أبي فرّاس ورّام بن حمدان بن عيسى بن أبي النجم ابن ورّام بن أحمد بن مدين بن حمدان بن خولان بن عبداللّه الشريف بن مالك الملقّب بـ«نعمان» بن ابراهيم بن الصحابي الجليل مالك الأشتر النخعيّ) وفنده في بحث نشر في المجلد الرابع من مجلة المجمع العلمي العراقي (1956) وفي كتابه المعنون “قبيلة جاوان الكردية” (1967) حيث يقول: “وفي ترجمة ورام الزاهد شيء جديد في تاريخ الأكراد الجاوانيين الورامين، هو تركهم النسب الكردي ورفعهم النسب إلى إبراهيم بن مالك الأشتر، والاستعاضة عن الكردي بالمالكي كما جاء في الروضات، وإنما اختاروا لنسبهم الجديد لأنه كان هو وأبوه من شيعة آل أبي طالب؛ فارتفعوا بأنسابهم إلى مَنْ يودون الاتصال به من أشراف العرب وأعيانهم، كما فعل غيرهم من الأكراد.” وهناك نظرية تقول بأن قبيلة جاف الكردية الكبيرة الممتدة بين العراق وايران هي من فروع قبيلة جاوان او “جافان”، وقد اختصر اسمها الى الجاف.

  66. Reidar Visser said

    Not sure what the argument really is here, Observer. Having worked a lot with Azzawi’s books on the Iraqi tribes myself, I would venture to suggest they should not be always considered The Plain Truth. There are often contradictions between different volumes etc. More importantly, though, probably most Iraqis may have some Kurdish blood if you go back to medieval times. That should not prevent them from being committed centralists ideologically (or federalists for that matter).

  67. observer said

    RV, frankly to me, it makes no difference if he is Kurdish or Jewish, or whatever. I just thought that it would be ironic that those who are celebrating Maliki for standing up to the Kurdish “designs” on the lands of “arabs” would find out all of the sudden that he is in actuality partially kurdish.

    This being the ancient land of the silk roads crossing, I believe we are all mutts in own way or another and all the BS about purity of blood and Persian vs Arab is an invention based on the Nazi theories which were very popular around the time of the division of the Palestine Mandate.

    As to the relationship between blood and dictatorial tendencies – I agree with you there is no relationship ;)
    Peace

    PS,
    Oh on the rest of Nibras’s blog- really he has some interesting ways of looking at issues and I think he is worthy of your time reading him. Again, i do not agree with everything he has to say, but it is enjoyable reading and one has to read opposing ideas lest one suffers from the echo chamber effect prevalent within the “iraqi expert” circle.

  68. Christian said

    http://www.frumforum.com/author/NibrasK/

    February 6th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    “Maliki ran on a platform of Iraqi patriotism and restoring law and order. For most of his career, Maliki was a marginal figure even within his own party, but an accidental confluence of events in 2006 brought him the premiership. His military successes in 2008 have now confirmed his leadership.

    But Maliki’s support rests on a narrow base. The party in which he began his career, the Da’awa are secretive and strongly ideological grouping of a few hundred members organized along Leninist lines but with a very un-Leninist mission to undermine secularism and propagate Islam. In the years since 2006 Maliki failed or was unwilling to build himself a broader party. ”

    Interesting.Calling the Dawaa party’s secretive nature Leninist really sums it up for me.

    “Yet even though Maliki cannot be counted as an Iranian lackey”

    And now we see where Observer disagrees with the man of course.

    “Secular Shias and Sunni liberals (that is, anti-Ba’athists) made negligible gains. Former prime minister and Ba’athist apologist Ayad Allawi was the big vote earner in this category”

    Was Allawi really a Baath “apologist”?I know he defended the Syrian Baath regime back in 2009 back when Anbaris from the “resistance” found it fashionable to cavort with them because of the support given before their Iranian fellative colors really shown through in putting down the revolution but was Ayad Allawi the man who was almost murdered by the Baath party on numerous occasions and who turned Fallujah into a free fire zone really an “apologist” for the Nazis?

  69. bb said

    Observer – I check out Nibras’ blog regularly and realised some time ago he had made a significant contribution to my understanding of the current situation. Unfortunately the google translation made it hard to follow. Nevertheless, the fact that Nibras was writing at all on the rise of Shia chauvinism, gave your complaints credibility to me.

    Alas, Nibras does not post on his English language blog anymore. It would be great if you could do an Eng translation, pass it on to RV and then he could pass it on to me, or anyone else interested. I asked Joel Wing if he could organise one, but he doesn’t have the resources.

    Am glad you’ve brought it up.

    As far as Nibras blog during the war is concerned, as time went on subsequent events regularly showed his analyses to be uncannily correct – in stark contrast to the other supposed Iraq shia specialists eg Juan Cole, but also including yourself, Reidar I’m afraid! When I learned much later that his shia parents had been communists I understood why someone as young as Nibras had such a grasp of the issues in his homeland.
    Describing that article as “enjoyable reading and one has to read opposing ideas lest one suffers from the echo chamber effect prevalent within the “iraqi expert” circle” is patronising, especially coming from a scholar who is westerner selling himself as the expert, not even Iraqi.

  70. Christian said

    http://en.aswataliraq.info/%28S%28ugmdl5rsrbonatjz34capb55%29%29/Default1.aspx?page=article_page&id=149343&l=1

    https://www.menafn.com/menafn/1093529722/Syria-Is-Iraq-first-country-to-defect

    Now on another note,Zebari appears to have criticized the Syrian Baathists and Assad heavily.
    Does this reflect any change in Iraqi Syria policy?

  71. Reidar Visser said

    BB, this time I think it is you who owe us some links to back up your assertions.

  72. Christian said

    “Alas, Nibras does not post on his English language blog anymore. It would be great if you could do an Eng translation, pass it on to RV and then he could pass it on to me, or anyone else interested. I asked Joel Wing if he could organise one, but he doesn’t have the resources.”

    I vociferously second this.

  73. Christian said

    http://www.alliraqnews.com/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13747:maliki-receives-icps-delegation-&catid=35:political&Itemid=2

    Also Allawi and the IS can’t even keep the fucking Marxist Communists in their style of thinking against Maliki,a member of a religious party.

    Are you fucking kidding me Allawi?Can’t even rally the Communists?I know they don’t have seats in the Parliament as far as I am aware but they’re the *Communists* for God’s sakes.Why can Maliki now develop a rapport with them but not you?

    Shit.

  74. observer said

    Never panic.
    The NCV is still on regardless of all the noise in the web from pro Maliki sites. You all think that a few sweet promises from maliki are going to end the problem?. hahahah.

    Christian – you do know that the communists do not have a single seat in the parliament -right? And the last time they did was when they ran with allawi in 05 then split on their own. So now, try to analyze their “invitation to the inner sanctums of the liar of Maliki” and their position with this “mem” in mind.

    Oh and BB – your kind is the patronizing kind telling us inside Iraq how we should live and what we should do, when you have no clue about the repression and the steps being taken on the ground to cement the hod of Da3wa onto the seat of power. Yes, yours truly is American (and a proud one at that), but I am also one who grew in this ancient land and live here (not in good ol’ US of A)
    Peace

    PS
    BB – are you serious about translating Nibras’s blog. You think I have the time??? (let alone the inspiration). Gimme a break.

  75. faisalkadri said

    Christian,
    The Iraqi communists are split almost in the middle, and on a political spectrum they are on the opposite extreme of the Islamists yet they appeal to the same popular base. The phenomenon that keeps popping up in the Middle East is the alignment of extremes against the moderate middle. Personally, I think the alliance with the communists is not worth it for someone like Allawi at any stage.

  76. bks said

    Google translate does an adequate job of translating the blog. Just select arabic to english, paste the URL of the blog entry into the box, and click “Translate”.

    http://translate.google.com

    –bks

  77. Christian said

    @74
    You should have,you know,ventured down to read my second paragraph at least Observer.
    I’m quite aware of how the Communists don’t have any seats,but it’s just a bad sign politically when Mr.secularist can’t even keep the Marxists by his side.I mean come on,they’re Marxists!!!!

    @75
    “Personally, I think the alliance with the communists is not worth it for someone like Allawi at any stage.”
    Well he needs to have *some* kind of base by his side.If as a secularist he can’t keep Marxists by his side,it just sings to the pornography of Allawi’s incompetence in my eyes.What’s next?The Saudis endorsing Maliki?They might as well at this point,”their” man lost anyway.

    P.S.
    Observer how exactly is the NCV “still” going on?Can you give me a mathematical breakdown of what MP’s specifically weren’t bribed and threatened by the Maliki administration while Allawi was wallowing in his self-pity to Gulf Arabs,Turks,and sympathetic Americans?I’m just not very optimistic about IS’s chances in pushing the NCV anymore.

  78. bb said

    Observer: ” bb – are you serious about translating Nibras’s blog. You think I have the time??? (let alone the inspiration). Gimme a break.”

    Fair enough, but disappointing nonetheless, since it is clearly a significant commentary on the very SERIOUS issue you have been pushing here for years and apparently discusses in detail the influence of Iran on the Iraqi shiiites.,

    The google translation is completely inadequate.

    Perhaps you could just translate the section under the sub-heading “Shiite chauvinism between the political goals of al-Maliki and the U.S. withdrawal and the Iranian position” which starts about a third of the way down at :

    http://www.imarawatijara.com/2012/04/25/contemporary_shia_chauvinism/

    Or maye Mohammed might be interested in doing it. Or even Reidar?

    Re – the patronsing. I must apologise handsome to RV here, as when I read that comment I mistook it for his. Consequently Observer my criticisms were not directed at you, but erroneously to RV. The fact that you would be patronising to an Iraqi shiite academic is not all that surprising. (I’d put in a “smiley:” here, Observer, but don’t know how!)

    RV- nah, haven’t the time to go through Coles, Kazimis and your archives on what is old history now. But I would note that Nibras was never quoted approvingly on JWN at the time – not once, let alone regularly! (Also a smiley!)

  79. observer said

    Christian,
    Your information is mostly based on reading blogs and reports from the echo chamber. What self pity are you talking about? What Arab, Turk Support? If America is in support of Iraqia, why would McGurk be the one who advocated and worked hard on breaking Iraqia apart to put his boy (and Khamieni’s) boy in place.

    You guys keep on talking to each other and discount any information that is counter to your understanding, because God forbid, you can not possibly be wrong in your diagnosis.
    Peace

    On NCV – I need not give you breakdowns. It matters not at this point, since you are convinced it is over. Fine by me.

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