Iraq and Gulf Analysis

More on Diyala

Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 20 August 2008 0:00

Today there is an attempt by Iraqi authorities to gloss over the Diyala episode by blaming it on technical misunderstandings between various arms of the Iraqi security apparatus: the local police versus a special force from Baghdad. This cannot disguise the fact that a week ago, and reportedly by consensus, the provincial council which includes 20 members from the Shiite Islamist camp (many of them ISCI*) voted to oust the police chief, Ghanim al-Qurayshi, whom Baghdad had earlier appointed probably with the support of Nuri al-Maliki and Jawad al-Bulani. Demonstrations against the dismissal, allegedly to a large degree made up of members of the police loyal to Qurayshi, had met with the disapproval of the governor who has ties to ISCI. There clearly is some kind of intra-Shiite dimension to this affair, but it remains unclear whether it is a case of a local branch of ISCI cooperating with non-Shiites in a bid to oust an outsider appointed by Maliki, or another example of tension between ISCI and forces more loyal to Maliki.

* The list of coalitions from the Iraqi electoral commission dated 20 December 2004 provides the following overview of the constituent elements of the two formal political alliances in Diyala: List 302, the Kurdish-Turkmen-Arab Alliance, made up of PUK and KDP (the two biggest Kurdish parties), and list 339, the Alliance of the Islamic and Nationalist Forces in Diyala, consisting of three elements: Daawa, SCIRI and Badr. In the January 2005 elections, list 302 won 7 seats, list 339 won 20 seats, and list 351, the Sunni-dominated IIP, got 14 seats.

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