Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Archive for October 21st, 2009

The Unity of Iraq Alliance: Another Second-Generation Coalition

Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 21 October 2009 20:02

[Update 24 October 13:25 CET: The Iraqi elections commission has just extended the deadline for registering coalitions until the close of business hours on 31 October 2009]

The significance of the Unity of Iraq Alliance announced today is that it forms yet another second-generation alliance in Iraq’s post-2003 politics, based on participation by politicians from various sects and ethnicities on an equal basis and connected through certain common (if in this case yet understated) ideological preferences. After the formation of Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition on 1 October, this is the second major cross-sectarian electoral coalition to emerge in the run-up to the January 2010 parliamentary elections… Full story here.

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election, Iraqi nationalism | 16 Comments »

Parliament Closed until Sunday; Deadline for Forming Coalitions Extended

Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 21 October 2009 12:01

Ayad al-Samarraie has issued a statement to the effect that the search for consensus solutions to the crisis over what to do with Kirkuk in the elections law has not yielded any results and that parliament will not meet again until Sunday. Some press reports indicate an agreement to involve the so-called “political assembly for national security”, which is basically another closed-door gathering of the leaders of the biggest political parties that dates back to the sectarian atmosphere of June 2006, and whose constitutional status is unclear. Attempts by UNAMI to intervene have so far failed to produce any results, and if stories about a proposed 51/49 per cent Kurdish/non-Kurdish quota-sharing agreement for Kirkuk are indeed correct (as reported by Sharqiyya television, among others) then they are also headed in the wrong direction: this would enshrine ethnic divisions instead of exploiting the considerable potential for inter-ethnic dialogue that exists at the grassroots level in Kirkuk, where many Kurds are fed up with their political leaderships.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi elections commission has reportedly extended the deadline for forming coalitions (which originally expired today) also until Sunday 25 October. There is now major pressure on the “third way” forces of Iraqi politics to come up with something material in this respect. Last week’s re-launch of the Tawafuq bloc seemed unimpressive, sectarian and rather confirmed its isolation, and the long list of small parties added to Iraqiyya contained mostly the usual suspects whose prospects as standalone entities are highly limited. There is much talk of the imminent establishment of some kind of front involving those “in the middle” but so far few concrete results except the Bulani–Abu Risha alliance which has already existed for some weeks (and which today reportedly had a string of new members, including Abd al-Ghaffur al-Samarraie, a prominent Sunni cleric, added as part of a formal launch under the name Unity of Iraq Alliance).

Posted in Iraqi constitutional issues, Kirkuk and Disputed Territories | 2 Comments »