Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Archive for November 25th, 2010

Talabani Invents a New Constitutional Clause

Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 25 November 2010 21:02

The BBC managed to create a story from Iraq today: “Iraq is moving one step closer to forming its next government”. The intrepid Gabriel Gatehouse identified developments as “important”. An Iraqi was interviewed and expressed hope that Nuri al-Maliki would form a government that would be “professional… and free from sectarian quota-sharing (muhasasa ta’ifiyya). The BBC elected to not translate the latter part of the comment, preferring instead to serve more traditional fare: “Government to include Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds” shrieked a rolling headline.

In actual fact, today’s “development” in Iraq was entirely uninteresting, save perhaps the fact that it managed to delude the world’s so-called leading news provider (again). The truth is that President Jalal Talabani today repeated exactly what he did on 11 November: He charged Nuri al-Maliki with forming the next government. There is absolutely no constitutional basis for first charging Maliki once and then doing it all over, supposedly in a more “official” way, 15 days later. Talabani could have waited 15 days before naming anyone, but he didn’t. Constitutionally speaking, his action today is completely bid‘a (innovation) and arguably unconstitutional.

Everyone knows that the real reason Talabani did this was to give Maliki more time to form the next government, ostensibly 30 days, but everyone knows that that deadline, in turn, will be violated too. Perhaps more interesting as an indication of where we are headed is the announcement today by Ali al-Allaq of State of Law that new ministries will be created! Of course they will. That is not to serve “Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds” as per the hapless BBC headline, but to satisfy the requirements of greedy politicians claiming to speak in the name of those communities.

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