Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Archive for May 13th, 2010

De-Baathification Has Served Its Purpose: 17 Governorate Results Are Sent to the Court for Certification

Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 13 May 2010 19:55

Amidst a sea of rumours, probably the most reliable indicator that the de-Baathification purge of Iraq’s new parliamentarians is coming to an end consists of a report to the effect that the electoral commission, IHEC, has sent the results for 17 governorates (all except Baghdad, where a recount is going on) to the federal supreme court for approval and certification.

This act would have been completely pointless had there been any probability whatsoever that political entities might lose votes as a result of ongoing or future de-Baathification proceedings. If that were to happen, the electoral divider would have to be re-computed for the affected governorates and seats distributed anew – and only IHEC has the authority to do  this. The exact status of the appeals of the 7 to 9 winning candidates that have been reported as subject to de-Baathification remains somewhat unclear, but today’s report is the clearest indication yet that IHEC has no intention of stripping political entities of votes whatever the eventual de-Baathification status of individual winners on those lists.

Meanwhile, the name of the eighth and hitherto unknown winning Iraqiyya candidate that was subjected to de-Baathification has emerged from IHEC documents: She is Lubna Rahim Karim of Wifaq and the decision to exclude her was approved by IHEC as late as 28 April. However, rough calculations indicate that even with the loss of her 8,400 seats on top of those of Iskandar Witwit that seemed at risk at first, Iraqiyya would in fact have kept its 3 seats in Babel.

This all goes to show that the main impact of the de-Baathification purge was a sectarian repolarisation of Iraqi politics, rather than a change of the results as such. It is the general atmosphere of Iraqi politics that has suffered, and the coalition-forming process in particular. No doubt, international players will label the latest developments as positive ones, and, to a certain extent, they are correct. But they will overlook the fact that the reason de-Baathification comes to an end is that the authors of its revival in some respects seem to be on the verge of victory. Characteristically, it is not the judicial system but the accountability and justice committee headed by Ahmed Chalabi and Ali al-Lami that is once more driving the process, now apparently reversing its own decisions as if two wrongs could make a right  (also with a little help from the presidency council). They have achieved the recreation of the all-Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, and have managed to consolidate the wedge between Maliki and Allawi, the potential alliance that Iran (and, incidentally, the Kurds) feared the most. And now they, alongside their partners in ISCI – whose domestic media was always jubilant about de-Baathification despite sometimes conciliatory gestures in Western newspapers  – will perhaps be seen as “moderates” too, gallantly reversing their earlier threats for the greater cause of government formation! Another result of their actions, of course, is that the two most popular politicians in Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki and Ayad Allawi, are likely to see their positions severely weakened.

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election, Iraqi constitutional issues, Uncategorized | 27 Comments »