Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Musa in the Council of Component Representatives

Posted by Reidar Visser on Sunday, 9 January 2011 16:24

During his visit to Baghdad over the weekend, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Musa, has met with fake vice presidents and deputies who have stolen their seats in the Iraqi parliament. In this way, just like the rest of the international community, the Arab League is contributing to the further erosion of the Iraqi state at the time when it should have done the opposite.

Salim al-Jibburi of Tawafuq/Wasat

Today’s session in the Iraqi parliament just highlighted these unfortunate tendencies. With nauseating predictability, Musa was greeted by a procession of three speakers supposedly representing Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish interests, followed by a Christian. The only exceptions to the predictable pattern were the contributions from Tawafuq and Gorran, probably meant as consolation prizes for having been largely shut out of the recently-formed partial government. Salim al-Jibburi of Tawafuq, in particular, must have felt he was on borrowed time, since he recently, in an unconstitutional fashion, became the fourteenth member of parliament from Diyala, thereby snatching one seat from Salahaddin’s quota of 12.

After the niceties had been completed, parliament also attended to some ordinary business. Abdallah Hasan Rashid al-Jibburi was sworn in as member of parliament for Iraqiyya to take the place of Salah Muzahim Darwish who recently became a minister. The change, which was constitutional since both were candidates for Iraqiyya in Diyala (though it is thought Muzahim was originally with Salih al-Mutlak whereas Jibburi has been reported as belonging to the Allawi faction), is interesting because the new member earlier got excluded from the seat he won with most votes in Diyala after Maliki’s State of Law in May 2010 complained that he had been previously convicted and hence unqualified to become a deputy. Possibly some more extrajudicial ad hoc reconciliation has been going on?

The parliament also passed the law on a deputy or more for the president. No mention of the presidency council there, for sure. The law also confirms that the deputies have no other power than whatever the president himself delegates from his own, largely ceremonial prerogatives. We will still have to wait a little more before parliament confirms the maximum three deputies that the president can select, though it is widely expected that he will settle for Adel Abd al-Mahi of ISCI, Tareq al-Hashemi of Iraqiyya and Khudayr al-Khuzai of Daawa (Tanzim al-Iraq), with a Turkmen representative who ran on the National Alliance ticket today promising a “popular revolution” unless a Turkmen is given a seat! Alchemist of the revolution indeed.

At a time when most of the Iraqi parliament is concerned with being Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, minorites, and women, it is gratifying to find at least some positive exceptions. Gorran’s representative Latif al-Shaykh Mustafa recently pointed out that the alleged promise by Maliki to extend veto powers to the president as part of the Kurdish 19 points is in fact unconstitutional. (It should be added that there are absolutely no signs that Maliki has any intention to keep the promise, since there is no constitutional way for him to do so.) Similarly, Jawad Kazim al-Buzuni of Daawa (Tanzim al-Iraq) has attacked the intention of Talabani to create three presidential deputies, which he says is superfluous and a waste of government money since the presidency has no real power and responsibilities beyond ceremonial functions anyway. Maha al-Duri, a female Sadrist, has called for urgent decreases in the salaries of the “three presidents” (Maliki, Nujayfi, Talabani) and presumably their deputies also.

Actions that challenge the muhasasa (quota) logic of the presidential deputies and the recent backroom deals on replacement deputies are welcome steps towards a more mature form of politics in Iraq. For now, though, the Iraqi parliament remains a council for self-proclaimed component representatives (majlis nawwab al-mukawwinat or مجلس نواب  المكونات ) rather than a national parliament as such.

9 Responses to “Musa in the Council of Component Representatives”

  1. Salah said


    Is this clear indications that iraqi politicians mindset still lingering with “muhasasa”?

    In an interview with al-Sharqyia TV, Al-Ja’afary refer to Iraqi nation as “مجتمعيات عراقية” when the interviewer asked him what that means he replay to him “Sunni, Shiites, Kurds??

    Then the interviewer asked him what about other Iraqi who are liberals? He did not answer his question!

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, please provide a link if you have one – I did a quick search and couldn’t find the Sharqiyya quote. (I assume there is a ya too many in the portion you reproduced.)

    At any rate the position of Jaafari is interesting. He clearly had hoped to become PM and is now sounding very professorial in his lectures to the national assembly instead! There must have been some kind of serious conflict between him and Maliki that led the two to part ways back in 2008.

  3. Salah said

    الجعفري وأصطلاح ” المجتمعيات العراقية ” تكريس للمحاصصة ؟

    نص لقاء الدكتور إبراهيم الجعفري مع قناة الشرقية

    نص لقاء الدكتور إبراهيم الجعفري مع قناة الشرقية

  4. Salah said

    عثـــــــمان : أن أختيار المناصب يتم على اسس الحزبية و السياسية و ليس على اسس النزاهة و الكفاءة

  5. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, thanks. Also interesting that Jaafari implicitly admits that the PM contest of the NA was settled in Tehran.

  6. Salah said

    So I hope you come to agree with my interpretation that “muhasasa (quota) logic” still strong with the iraqi Politicians dissipate they said They are changed or they are moved from that attitude.

    الطالباني يصر على أن يكون نائبه الثالث تركماني ويبدي تحفظات على الخزاعي

    what’s your take why Talabani looks to Turkmen? Is he whispering to turkey as recently they come in to Iraq with more detriment to find place for their feet? Is this move because Barazani more close to Iran help in the region?

  7. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, I think no one disputes that there are many Iraqi politicians who still subscribe to the muhasasa principle. If you’re referring to my previous post on the subject, the point in it was simply that both tendencies, muhasasa and anti-muhasasa, can be seen in the two most important coalitions, State of Law and Iraqiyya.

    With respect to Talabani and the Turkmens it seems to me an obvious strategy for someone who wants to uphold the muhasasa principle, by enticing the Turkmens to join the party. It is pretty cheap, too: For a worthless vice-presidency Turkmens currently participating in Iraqiyya and/or State of Law would renounce participation in alliances that at least at times try to be national and ideological in outlook.

  8. Ali W said

    Hi Reidar

    The latest on this issue, the next election we will see 8 Vice Presidents for the following
    1. Black iraqis
    2. Yazidis
    3- Sabe Mnedanis
    4- Turkman
    5- Shabak
    6- Chaldeans
    7- Assyrians
    8- Armenians

    And ofcourse the shia/suni/kurds as well

  9. Reidar Visser said

    You might well be right Ali!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: