Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Archive for August 16th, 2010

What Maliki Said

Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 16 August 2010 21:41

Today’s news that the secular Iraqiyya list is breaking off dialogue with the Shiite Islamist-leaning State of Law headed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is bad news. Unfortunately, it is also another indication that Iraqiyya is more focused on establishing pretexts for keeping a distance to Maliki as a person instead of moving seriously towards rapprochement on the many political issues where the two entities are in agreement with each other and much closer than the rest of Iraq’s political parties.

Ostensibly, Iraqiyya is cutting off relations because it is offended that Maliki called them a “Sunni party”. That description would of course be incorrect; whilst Iraqiyya has solid support in Sunni-majority areas, it is the only list to garner substantial support across Iraq from Basra to Mosul. However, the criticism of Maliki by Iraqiyya, too, is unfair. The transcript from the Maliki interview on Al-Hurra Television to which Iraqiyya took exception makes it perfectly clear that Maliki was seeking arguments for including Iraqiyya in the next government. So, he simply made the point that Iraqiyya has become the main representative of the Sunnis in Iraq:

قال نوري المالكي لقناة الحرة اليوم الاثنين

مسالة الاتفاق بيننا وبين القائمة العراقية ليست مجرد رغبة امريكية او رغبة طرف عراقي سواء دولة القانون او الائتلاف الوطني، انما القائمة العراقية، ولنتحدث بصراحة،  اصبحت تجمع يمثل المكون السني واي دولة (حكومة) تتشكل مالم يكون هذا التجمع وهذه القائمة التي تمثل هذا المكون موجودة ووجودها له شراكة حقيقية فلا يمكن ان تستقر الدولة. ..

هذا هو المنطلق الذي يجعلنا نركز على ضرورة مشاركة القائمة العراقية في الحكومة

That is not to say that Maliki denied Iraqiyya has important non-Sunni members or voters. In fact, members of Iraqiyya themselves have been making exactly the same point before. For example, in early June, Hani Ashur told Al-Hayat that a meeting of Iraqiyya, INA and the Kurds represented the “three components” of the Iraqi people. Of course that means Ashur, too, in some ways was thinking of his own party as a “Sunni-backed” one, since there is no way he could have meant that the Kurdistan Alliance or the Iraqi National Alliance represented the Sunnis:

وقال القيادي في «العراقية» هاني عاشور ان «بين الكتل الثلاثة تشترك في اجتماعها على الإسراع بتشكيل الحكومة، وايمانها بالحوار، وتمثيل هذه الكتل الثلاث لمكونات الشعب العراقي بأطيافه وقومياته وشرائحه الاجتماعية وقدرتها على تحقيق الأصوات المطلوبة في مجلس النواب لاعلان الحكومة وحتى ترشيح رئيس الجمهورية ورئيس المجلس»

It is depressing that Iraqiyya finds it useful to jump at statements like this one by Maliki, which in fact was meant as an invitation. (Also indicative of the temperature in Baghad is probably the suggestion by Iraqiyya that the accountability and justice board deal with Maliki under article 7 of the constitution: The whole critique of the de-Baathification of Mutlak and Ani was based on the (correct) assumption that the AJ board has no jurisdiction when it comes to article 7!) At the same time they continue “dialogue” with INA (which is still showing no signs of accepting Ayad Allawi as premier and probably never will) as well as the Kurdistan Alliance, pretending not to see that this conversation is in fact deadlocked. The full list of the 19 Kurdish demands has now been made public, and it includes the following nuggets:

15- التمثيل الكردستاني في الوزارات السيادية ومجلس الوزراء والهيئات المستقلة وكافة مؤسسات الدولة بصورة عادلة ووفق الاستحقاق القومي.

16- ان يكون للجانب الكردستاني حق البت في مرشحي الوزارات السيادية والوزارات الاخرى ذات الصلة باقليم كردستان.

18- تعد الحكومة الائتلافية مستقيلة حال انسحاب الطرف الكردستاني بسبب خرق دستوري واضح او عدم تنفيذ البرامج المتفق عليها.

19- تلتزم كتلة رئيس الوزراء في البرلمان وفي مجلس الوزراء بمساندة المشاريع الانفة الذكر.

Kurdish representation in all areas of the government on the basis of “ethnic entitlements”; a Kurdish veto on candidates for all leading ministers and those “connected” with Kurdistan (presumably oil, water etc.); a diktat that the party of the prime minister in parliament must embrace all these points; and not least, the automatic resignation of the government in case the Kurds detect a grave violation of the constitution! Do not these items provide a far better rationale for Iraqiyya for freezing their relations and finding more realistic partners?

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election, Sectarian master narrative | 17 Comments »