Iraq and Gulf Analysis

System Failure: The Ban on Mutlak

Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 14 January 2010 20:50

The Iraqi elections commission (IHEC) has reportedly upheld the decision by the accountability and justice board to bar around 500 candidates, including Salih al-Mutlak, from participating in the 7 March elections, based on allegations of Baathist sympathies. The banned candidates can appeal to a board of seven judges that came into existence only three days ago, and whose names still appear to remain a secret.

It is hard to describe this development as anything than other than complete system failure in the new democracy in Iraq. Almost inevitably, the atmosphere of the elections will now turn into a repeat of December 2005, with escalating rhetoric that can easily turn sectarian. Parliament had the obvious option of marginalising Ali al-Lami, the Iran-connected leader of the former de-Baathification committee; instead they went for the more convenient solution of approving seven judges that now have the delicate and enormous task of dealing with hundreds of appeals in a matter of weeks. Why did they not ask Ali al-Lami to step down instead? Why did not the “independent” IHEC offer any resistance? What are the forces the Iraqi parliament and the IHEC are so afraid of? Mutlak has played a constructive role in Iraqi politics since 2005; the sudden allegation of dangerous Baathist revival plans simply smacks of panic on the part of his political opponents and involvement by forces outside Iraq.

As for the external environment some reports say UNAMI (and possibly also the Americans) pleaded with the IHEC not to follow through on the ban on Mutlak. The recent top-level Arab League visit to Baghdad is widely seen to have had the same objective. Quite inexplicably, the newly-arrived British ambassador to Baghdad chose the hearing on the Iraq War in London to warn against the possibility of a coup in Baghdad, which can only have added fire to the flames. But other than that, only Iran is known to be supportive of the ban. To add insult to injury, the Iranian foreign minister visited Baghdad just days before parliament decided to let the accountability and justice committee have its way.

The future now depends on how swiftly the newly constituted appeals court handles the cases. If the appeals drag on for many weeks then inevitably this issue will continue to dominate the agenda and the elections can easily become a replay of 2005, probably to the satisfaction of the ISCI/Chalabi/Sadrist alliance (Hakim has spent the past two days in Kurdistan talking about a renewed Shiite-Kurdish alliance). Interestingly, however, Salih al-Mutlak this morning actually expressed confidence that the appeals court would deal justly with any appeal by him.

9 Responses to “System Failure: The Ban on Mutlak”

  1. Joel Wing said

    Yeah, I just read about the Election Commission’s decision this morning on Aswat al-Iraq and thought to myself what the hell are they doing??? And I think you’re right that sectarianism is creeping back into the political campaigns in the run-up to the vote because I’m reading more and more about Baathists, Baathists, Baathists here there and everywhere in the Iraqi press.

  2. Salah said

    There are news that the name of judges who promoted to newly constituted appeals court also rejected on basis are Baathists?

    how swiftly the newly constituted appeals court handles the cases

    If they insisted on banning Al-Mutlaq, the other chose let his party come with new name represent them instead insisting on party ban.

  3. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, all I have seen so far on this is regurgitation of the accusation already made by Bahaa al-Aaraji when parliament voted on the candidates earlier this week. He claimed three of them are ex-Baathists, and around 70 other deputies supported him. But please post the link if you have a report that says something different and more specific than this.

  4. Salah said

    That what I saw, unfortunately I did bookmark the page when I read it, I though its worthless by these guys.

    What really troubling many members of Iraqi parliament give their interpenetration on different issue before been officially sorted out or agreed on. with news wire reporting from different members of parliament for different issues just more disturbing and chose some times.

    This really disturbing unworthy speeches by members should be stopped and the issues should be sorted under the parliament umbrella as it turned out in many cases they voted different from what they said or they give different views in public than what the behave inside the parliament during counting votes .

  5. Salah said

    please post the link if you have a report that says something different and more specific than this.
    I have it for you:

    نواب : التصويت على هيئة التمييز لاقى الرفض كون البعض من القضاة مشمولون بالاجتثاث
    13/01/2010 – 12:00
    وبين النائب حسن السنيد أن التصويت على هيئة التمييز اليوم لاقى معارضة من قبل بعض النواب حيث ان بعض منهم أشار إلى أن عدد من هؤلاء القضاة مشمولين بالاجتثاث. وأضاف السنيد في تصريح لوكالة (الملف برس) لقد اعترض عدد من أعضاء مجلس النواب في جلسة اليوم على عدد من القضاة الذين سموا لهيئة التمييز التي ستنظر بقضية الطعون للمشمولين بالاجتثاث , مضيفاً ان رئيس مجلس النواب أياد السامرائي وعد أعضاء المجلس بأنه سيلتقي بالقضاة الذين تم التصويت عليهم في لقاء خص وسيعرف اذا كان أي منهم مشمول بالاجتثاث وفي حال تأكد من ذلك الأمر فأن التصويت سيعاد مرة أخرى بوجود مرشحين اخزين .

    قوة عسكرية تداهم مكتب النائب المطلك في بغداد

  6. Salah said

    I don’t know who is telling the truth!!

    مصادر عسكرية: مداهمة فندق الرشيد ببغداد تستهدف أحد المطلوبين وليس عضواً في مجلس النواب

  7. Salah said

    في الانتخابات الماضية حصلت كتلتي على 80 مقعدًا ، لكن زورت الانتخابات بطريقة لم تسمح لنا إلا بـ 11 نائبًا فقط، وأنا أتوقع لكتلتي في الانتخابات المقبلة على الأقل الحصول على مائة مقعد لنصبح الكتلة الأكبر في البرلمان، وهذا ما أكدته استطلاعات الرأي التي أجريت من قبل مؤسسات أمريكية، حيث أظهرت مؤشرات تدل على تقدمنا الكبير في الانتخابات المقبلة بمستوى يسبق كتلة نوري المالكي وكتل الآخرين بمراحل، وفي رأيي يرجع سبب تقدمنا إلى كون العراقيين ملّوا من المشروع الطائفي ويريدون التخلص منه، ومن الأحزاب الدينية المذهبية، وهم بحاجة إلى مشروع وطني ليبرالي علماني يحمل هوية وطنية ويستطيع التعامل مع كل العراقيين بطريقة عادلة ولا يفرق بينهم حسب مذهبهم.

  8. Reidar Visser said

    Thanks Salah, your report apparently refers to the same opposition in parliament headed by Baha al-Aaraji that I referred to, but it is interesting that Samarraie also reportedly says he will “meet and talk to” those judges to find out (!) whether they are indeed disqualified under the accountability and justice law, and if he as part of that conversation (!!) finds out that they are, parliament will vote on new judges (!!!)

  9. Salah said

    العزاوي ينسحب من لجنة هيئة المساءلة والعدالة في البرلمان
    Friday, January 15, 2010
    اعلن النائب عن جبهة التوافق العراقية رشيد العزاوي انسحابه من اللجنة التي شكلها مجلس النواب للإشراف على عمل هيئة المساءلة والعدالة لاعتراضه على الية عمل اللجنة، مؤكدا انه ليس من صلاحيات الهيئة منع كيان سياسي باكمله من المشاركة في الانتخابات المقبلة.

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