Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Still No Security Ministers; Parliament Goes on Holiday “In Solidarity” with Bahraini Demonstrators

Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 17 March 2011 13:42

It was all utterly predictable. A Reuters journalist wanted to get an eye-catching headline and a new angle on the conflict in Bahrain, and, no surprise, he managed to find one: “Bahrain showdown divides Iraqis on sectarian lines”. All he then needed was a single Iraqi Sunni who could present a dissenting voice to the Shiite parties – which have been loud in expressing solidarity with the Bahraini demonstrators. Unsurprisingly, he succeeded in that respect too. His victim was one Ahmad Yunis, described as a “Sunni lawyer”, who thought he saw an Iranian hand in the Bahraini uprising: “If we look at the critical situation in Bahrain, we would be too naive if we ignored the Iranian fingers. Having a Gulf country ruled by a Shiite majority would make Iran more proud than having the atomic bomb”. And voila, Reuters had its story, and the idea that sectarian conflict might re-erupt in Iraq because of Bahrain could find a receptive mainstream media audience worldwide.

Today, the Iraqi parliament presented a far more nuanced take on the situation in Bahrain. True, many of the speeches in support of the Bahraini demonstrators were given by Shiite Islamists, as could perhaps have been predicted. But there were other dimensions too. Kurdish and Christian deputies added their support for the Bahraini opposition. A gathering of female deputies seconded a motion to protest against the highhandedness of the Bahraini authorities; Salman al-Jamili, a Sunni from the Iraqiyya list expressed sympathy with the [mostly but not exclusively Shiite] demonstrators who in his view had been “marginalised” by the [Sunni] regime. And ultimately, it was the Sunni speaker of parliament, also from the Iraqiyya bloc, Usama al-Nujayfi, who cancelled the rest of today’s session in protest against what the [Sunni] regime in Bahrain is doing. He called the Bahraini uprising a “popular movement” and also condemned “interference” in Bahrain, which in the current situation can only mean the Saudis and other GCC states.

Nujayfi’s action should give pause to those who want to reduce him to some kind of Saudi marionette. At least from that point of view, his action today was a positive one, as it once more showed that Iraqi Sunnis are far ahead of most other Sunnis in the regions in terms of building relationships of trust with its fellow Shiite compatriots and in recognising true popular movements, whatever their sectarian make-up. Incidentally, relations between the Sunni Arabs and the Kurds also took a step forward today: Parliament formally issued a decision condemning as genocide the Halabja massacre in 1988 during the closing phase of the Iran–Iraq War.

What was perhaps less positive about the whole affair was the fact that the parliamentary recess had after all been anticipated anyway because of the Kurdish New Year celebrations this weekend (i.e. following the Persian calendar). It should be remembered that since it began a new session last summer after the 7 March 2010 elections, parliament has in fact only been able to issue two laws, i.e. the budget and a law on the deputies of the president (it has been unable to actually elect those deputies). Additionally, the whole affair provided yet another excuse for postponing the parliamentary confirmation of new security ministers, which appeared to have gathered some momentum this week only to be absent from the agenda when parliament convened this morning.

Parliament is now on vacation until 27 March. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will remain acting minister for defence and the interior. Who would have thought that one year after the declaration of the final election results and his defeat at the ballot box in late March 2010, he should be able to demonstrate such remarkable staying power?

45 Responses to “Still No Security Ministers; Parliament Goes on Holiday “In Solidarity” with Bahraini Demonstrators”

  1. Ali Rashid said

    Your first para was precisely, down to the tee, what I thought when I read that terrible article.

  2. bb said

    “And ultimately, it was the Sunni speaker of parliament, also from the Iraqiyya bloc, Usama al-Nujayfi, who cancelled the rest of today’s session in protest against what the [Sunni] regime in Bahrain is doing. He called the Bahraini uprising a “popular movement” and also condemned “interference” in Bahrain, which in the current situation can only mean the Saudis and other GCC states.”

    No greater testament to the success of Iraq’s cosociational democracy. The Iraqi legislators must have been watching what’s happening in Libya with acute deja vu, thinking “that would have been us”.

  3. Salah said

    Although the political folks in Iraq trying hard to be fare from sectarian/ ethnic believers and supporter as before/after the last election but they prove again they are not and they still prison of their old mantra of their mind their behaviours more sectarian than liberal.
    However although Bahraini what said here are true in regards to not ethnicity but religious believe as in other gulf states still Iraq case have gave them good lessons that these people are fare from their national identity and their own people in may levels that make the regimes very suspicious to get on board with them.

    تجمع العراق الجديد .. يطالب ارسال الرجال والمال لنصرة شعب البحرين اصدر ( تجمع العراق الجديد والقوى
    المتحالفة ) بيانأ شديد اللهجة ، طالب فيه الحكومة العراقية ارسال الرجال والمال لنصرة شعب البحرين المنتفض ضد النظام الرجعي الدموي الذي حكم البحرين

    Also I would to add we did not seen any reaction of loud expressing solidarity with the Libyan or Egyptian or Tunisian as we seen now with Bahrain

  4. Reidar Visser said

    Bb, I’m surprised you are able to detect such a precise link between the consociational nature of Iraq’s democracy and what Nujayfi said and did. After all, Iraqiyya has a history of reaching out to the Shiites, including the religious leadership and Sistani, also at times when it was outside of the consociational establishment. I think it makes more sense to look at the long lines of Iraqi history here. In the early 1800s, even the historian Ibn Sanad al-Basri, a devout Sunni, in his writings criticised the Wahhabis for their attack on the Shiite holy city of Karbala. A century later, just before the First World War, Ibn Sanad was celebrated as a great “Iraqi historian” by Kazim al-Dujayli, a Shiite. In other words, the coexistence tradition – nothing to do with quotas – resonates first and foremost with hundreds of years of history in which the basic concept of a multi-sectarian and multi-ethnic Iraq remained a shared paradigm.

  5. Azad said

    Salah that is because the Bahrainis were the only ones to show solidarity with the 1991 uprisings in Iraq. The Libyans and Egyptians were no where to be found.

    As for Reuters, a complete joke.

  6. Salah said


    Iraq history of 5000 years “resonates first and foremost” “of history in which the basic concept of a multi-sectarian and multi-ethnic Iraq remained a shared paradigm”.

    Babylonian and Assyrian empires were lived on same land and the king of Babylon married to the Assyrian Women which she failed homesick the king built for her the Hanging Gardens in Babylon, and so and so forth.

    But we should admit here Iraq passed many “multi-sectarian and multi-ethnic” problems in his long history not because of Iraqi citizenry as such but mostly by external neighbours/power who went to invade that land and get control of its richness.

  7. Salah said

    While Iraqi politicians concerned about Bahrain they keep silent about the Iraqi demonstrating in Taharir Square for more than month.

    let read this letter from a Iraqi Mother she lost one her son during the tyrant regime , then she lost another in new democratic Iraq and the third were kidnaped….

    asking Ibrahim Jaafary as he giving his speech about Bahraini citizens..

    السيد ابراهيم الجعفري

    واقول له اتمنى ان تكون صرخة الامهات في بلدك العراق تحظى باهتمامك كما حظى كل الشهداء في الدول الاخرى باهتمامك ,وعندما وجدتك ترتجف من على منبر مجلس النواب وتخنقك عبرات الغيرة على من يقتل في البحرين وليبيا كانت لدي تمنيات بان يكون لك ذات الشعور حيال الاف العراقيين الذين استضافتهم سجون الحكومات المتعاقبة منذ الاحتلال ومن بينهم حكومات التحالف التي تذرعت باسباب ليست لها من الواقع شيئا لحجز حرية هؤلاء المواطنين وترك امهاتهم وزوجاتهم واطفالهم عرضة لصروف الزمن ونوائب الحياة .

  8. Santana said

    The fact that the only news and attention given in Iraq these days is Bahrain shows the pervasive Shiite sectarian nature Iraq has become since 2003…..I honestly wish success to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and any Arab forces involved in restoring the peace and stability of Bahrain and protecting the Arabian Gulf from Iran’s evil reach…..Iran is fully behind this unrest- BTW-the Shiites of Bahrain and Saudi live a much better life with a higher standard of living than any of the Shiites in Iran.Sure-they are not given high ranking Security positions and I can’t say I blame the leadership for that but this is due to the “Tuqia” that most Shiites believe in. Which means any oath of loyalty not to the Marjaaiyah means nothing and can or must be broken as needed……. 280 Million Arabs from Iraq to Morrocco support the GCC effort and sacrifices…and less than 20 million oppose it (shiites under orders from Tehran like Ibrahim Al-Jaafari plus those that feel if they don’t do or say something then bad karma will follow them and their loved ones for life….or as they say in Iraq-“Al-Abbas yeshower beehum”.(Alabbas will curse them).

  9. Ba'athist victim said

    Santana – your true colors have come through.

  10. Reidar Visser said

    Santana, why do you think Nujayfi acted as he did?

  11. placebo12 said

    Santana I have often been quite supportive of your views regarding Iraqi politics on this forum, but you have truly shown yourself to be a hypocrite now. You complain about “the pervasiveness of the Shiite sectarian nature” and yet you then proceed to spurt out the most sectarian rhetoric I have seen in quite some time. Taqiya? Bad Karma? Oath of loyalty to the Marjaaiyah? What have you been taking son? I know you wish to see a secular system take hold in Iraq and so do I (although I’m not so sure that that’s your true aim anymore…), but how do you expect it to work when people like you continue to see shiites as inferior human beings who can’t be trusted? At what point are you going to make a distinction between the political class and the individuals on the street who are fighting for their legitimate human rights both in Iraq and Bahrain?

  12. Mohammed said


    I thank you for being honest about your feelings and I understand your concerns about Iran’s meddlings in Iraq. I do not doubt that Iran has been influential with some Iraqi shia political leaders. But let me assure you that the source of this influence is not love for Iran (afterall, why would any Iraqi arab shiite love iran?), but rather, disdain for people with your sentiments would come back to rule Iraq.

    Reidar, as I stated in my previous post, the lens by which Iraqi shia (the overwhelming majority of them) is the very real fear that neo-baathist leaders will come back to rule them. I very much predicted the response of the shia in Iraq in my post about Bahrain before the Iraqis actually went to the streets. The reason the response was so predictable is because it really removes the curtains and tells the arabs of the gulf what is going on. Plain and simple: “Shia are not meant to be equal to sunnis!” In bahrain, where shia are the majority (like in Iraq), gulf arabs do not want the majority to be in power like they are in Iraq.

    The big difference in terms of policies of state of law and Iraqiya really boil down to issues related sunni/shia/baathist reproachement. Otherwise, on government policy issues there was a great deal of commonality. But in the end, Iraqiya could not get a significant percentage (probably less than 15%) of shia to vote for them. Anyway you cut it, Iraqi shia are just as determined to prevent sunnis from ruling them as Santana is from allowing shiites to rule sunnis. The voting pattern shows that quite clearly.

    Reidar, I very much interpret the numbers you posted to my response last time with a very different angle. Yes, Iraqiya received tens of thousands of votes in the south. However, when you normalize their votes by the total number of votes of each province and also estimate that some provinces may have 5-10% sunni population, Iraqiya cannot hope to effectively compete for shia votes. When you see the difference in voting patterns for Iraqiya and State of Law in Basra and Mosul, you cannot help but conclude that Iraqi voting is sectarian. I respect your knowledge, and I admire your good-hearted idealism, but I am afraid with respect to sunni-shia matters, these dynamics are not going to change until shia no longer feel under threat from sunni arab neighbors who would like nothing more than to annhilate them. You are using the exceptions and outliers rather than looking at what the overwhelming majority think.

    So getting back to your worries Santana, let me be very frank. Shia in Iraq, Saudi arabia, or Bahrain do not love Iran. No bahraini shiite loves iran to the point of having their son go out in the street to demonstrate against a tyrant King and comes back with a bullet in his head. Frankly, Iranian shiites dont even like their government. However, when Iraqi shia leaders see that Saudi Arabia behaves in this devious way, and Iraq is too weak currently to stop them, then their onely recourse is Iran out of sheer despiration, not love. So congratulations to the Saudis and your like-minded sunnis, for you have just handed over Iraq to Iran by your insistence that Iraqi shia should not be allowed to rule.

    As for Nujaifi, I applaud his action of supporting the Bahraini people against their tyrant King.

    Again Santana, I have nothing personally against you. You would be happy to see Iraq be the 51st state in the USA. So would I. I believe in separation of church and state, and do not believe mullahs should have any say in legal matters. I believe in democracy and equal rights for all. Sunni iraqis as a minority in Iraq today have as much rights as shia do. However, shia minorities in the gulf do not have even 10% of the right of their sunni counterparts. Until this black cloud is removed from the gulf, I am afraid sectarianism will dominate the politics.

  13. Reidar Visser said

    Mohammed, again, it seems to me that you pretend that Iraqis that don’t fit your theory don’t exist. Are you really trying to say that those 400,000 Iraqiyya votes in the south had so much to do with Sunni minorities that the rest of them are “insignificant”? And you mention Nujayfi, but let me put the same question to you that I put to Santana: Why did Nujayfi do what he did?

  14. Mohammed said


    Perhaps I am not being clear in how I describe my view of the Iraqi electorate. I do not mean to imply that 400,000 votes in the south is nothing. My guess is that the 400,000 consists of secular shiites and sunnis of the south. I am talking about winning political strategies. Southern iraqis and those from Mosul had very different voting patterns. Is it because one group really cares about picking competent professionals, and the other doesnt? Does one group prize water, electricity, and healthcare more than the other? Does one love their children more than the other? I doubt it. When it really comes down to it, the overwhelming number of people of Mosul are not about to pick a Dawa member to by PM, and similarly, shiite iraqis are not about to pick a party like Iraqiya with so many members who to this day praise the baath party. State of Law has former baathist, but none that dare speak in its favor today.

    Thus, for a great majority of the iraqi electorate, the single most important factor in deciding which party to vote for was sect. I am not saying this is static. I would love to see Iraq emerge into a country where shiites voted for qualified fair, moral sunnis, and sunnis voted for qualified and just shiites as well. We are not there yet. Furthermore, until the shiites of Iraq do not feel threatened by their sunni neighbors who deprive their own shiite minorities and majorities of every basic right, then you are unlikely to see any significant change in voting patterns.


  15. Mohammed said

    With regards to Nujaifi, the answer is that I don’t know why. Maybe he did it because he believes in freedom for all and followed his heart. I applaude him for speaking for the truth. Unlike Santana, I do not believe that all Sunnis are evil people and have bad intentions. THere are heroic sunnis like that boy Omar who jumped in the river to save shiites during the bridge stampede a few years ago, and gave his life for it.

    While I do recognize that fact, I also recognize that sunnis have grown up in environment where imams and politicians teach them to distrust shia as leaders (pretty much as santanta (an educated sunni) has spoken on this forum). It will take time to overcome these fears and integrate iraq into a sect-blind nation.

  16. Reidar Visser said

    Mohammed, he can answer for himself but just FYI: Santana is not a “Sunni”. Iraq is always more complex than it seems!

  17. Mohammed said

    Interesting note about Santana. Santana may even be a shiite or christian arab for all I am concerned. But, I can tell with certainty that most of my sunni relatives in Baghdad (I am from a mixed sunni shia family) pretty much feel the same way as Santana. If Santana is shiite, and Iraqiya is basing their winning strategy on attracting people like Santana, Iraqiya is done for. If Santana is christian, it is certainly plausible that many secular christians would not want to see shiites come to power and turn iraq into an iranian style theocracy.

    But my points prior to this post remains the same. I tend not to focus on outliers, and neither do politicians who want to win elections. If Allawi can only attract shiites 1.5 to 2 standard deviations from the norm, he will be in trouble.

  18. Santana said

    Thank you Reidar for pointing out that I am not a Sunni….I guess it is hard for the readers to imagine that when they read what I write..I appreciate Mohammed’s comments and there is some truth to some of his comments however I have always been a man that speaks his mind and sometimes it’s what the readers want to hear and sometimes it isn’t.Why didn’t Iraqis rally to support the Libyans that are 10 times more disadvantaged than the Shiites of Bahrain and Saudi???

    Sectarianism has never been stronger in Iraq then after 2003….and it was Bush and his rocket-scientist neocons that brought Iraq to this thru sheer ignorance and stupidity. I asked a high ranking Pentagon official in late 2003 where the hell the U.S got this list of 42 Governing council idiots ? He said- lots of Iraqis asked me this and to be honest- we didn’t expect Baghdad to collapse so quickly and so when it did we ran to our Rolodex’s and started calling Iraqi Opposition leaders (like Chalabi and Jaafari and Co.) he said we had no idea who is a shiite or sunni or Kurd…had they all been from one group then that’s who the 42 would have been made up of…I told him that I find it appalling that you guys would invade a country without at least doing your homework!

    As far as why Nujaifi did what he did is baffeling but I promise you that I will find out the real reason soon and post on here.

    As far as my reply to other critics…I do NOT see Shiites as inferior and they deserve the same rights as the others – except the security posts- and that is for a reason -pleenty of other positions…who wants to be a spook anyway?

    and to the gentleman that said my true colors came thru….I have maintained this position always and nothing will change me…and -unlike you-I fully respect whatever opinion you have.

    Thanks again Reidar….didn’t mean to stir up the emotions….just stating facts and the truth hurts sometimes.

  19. Joe said

    Reidar, Who do you see as frontrunners for the Defense and Interior Ministries at this jucture of the security ministry selection saga?

  20. Salah said

    The Iraqi Parliament and its members they are just find excuse to have a holiday whatever name they could use “In Solidarity” with Bahraini Demonstrators, to make their case fare from what the facing of the reality caring much and giving much attentions to the pile of problems and works need to be done to improve millions of Iraqi lives were long waiting for changes/ promises made by their repetitive in Parliament or by their parte leaders.
    This weekend Iraq northern region got more demonstration asking for transparency fighting corruptions by those who promising them rosy lives and better conditions than before.

    مظاهرة حاشدة في السليمانية

    تظاهر الآلاف يوم الأحد في مدينة السليمانية بإقليم كردستان العراق، في أكبر احتجاج حتى الآن على حكومة الإقليم للمطالبة بإصلاحات سياسية ووضع حد للفساد وتحسين الخدمات.

    وتجمع الآلاف في الساحة الرئيسية بالسليمانية -ثاني أكبر مدينة في المنطقة الكردية- للاحتفال ببداية العام الكردي والفارسي الجديد “النيروز” لكن الاحتفال سرعان ما تحول إلى حشد احتجاجي للمطالبة بالإصلاح.

  21. Santana said

    Nujaifi’s position on the Bahraini issue was thru pressure from Parliamentary members that threatened to boot him out of his precious speakership….he is also Turkey’s darling in Iraq and got a “nudge” from Erdogan to say what he said.

  22. Reidar Visser said

    Joe, I will do a separate post on the security ministries once they actually materialise. I try to avoid writing “rumours posts”, but in general there seems to be agreement that the minister of defence will be an army professional approved by Iraqiyya and the national security adviser will be a political appointee close to State of Law. The remaining conflict seems to focus mostly on interior, where Chalabi is apparently still in the game – with Sadrists reportedly cheering him on – and Maliki is probably hoping for someone quasi-independent, i.e. a professional candidate close to State of Law, instead.

  23. Kermanshahi said

    So basicly what you are saying, Santana, is that Shi’a, because of our faith, should not be allowed to hold security overwhelmingly Shi’a countries like Bahrain and Iraq, because these positions should instead be reserved for the small religious minority sect where you belong to? Because your sect supposedly makes you a more loyal Iraqi and Bahrainis of that sect become more loyal Bahrainis, meanwhile we can brand these countries’ majorities as disloyal because they have a different belief than you? This is absolutely ridiculous and illustrates very well the fear of the majority of Iraqi people, who happen to be Shi’a, to let self-proclaimed “non-secterian,” Sunni, Arab Nationalists like the Nujayfi brothers and Saleh al-Mutlaq to get in touch with key positions, beucase these kind of views which you hold, and which majority of the Iraqiyya lists infact hold, can present a threat to the majority of the country, which if anything, should be able to shape the countries identit.

    And than you claim Shi’as in Bahrain are treated well? Aside from the fact that the King’s uncle has been Prime Minister since independence day in 1971, making him the longest ruling dictator after Colonel Khadaffi (another great, Sunni, Arab Nationalist icon) and for the rest there is no democracy so no Shi’a representation, which you think is good for them, since dictators can protect Shi’as from their own supposed disloyalty, these dictators have made a great point of giving no jobs at all to the country’s 70% Shi’a majority. All the good jobs went to the Sunnis and all of the bad jobs, well, they employed Syrians and Egyptians and Jordians, foreign Sunni workers to do it. Infact they don’t even have enough Sunnis to fill their own army with, because Shi’as are too disloyal, so they filled their army with Saudi mercaneries. How can you say a regime like this is good for it’s people? These people don’t have jobs, they don’t have money, while the bin Khalifas are sitting on billions and all they do is kill the people. Because they opress their own people and their policies go against the majority of the people, it is the Bahraini regime which is disloyal, not the Bahraini majority. They are nothing but a bunch of American stooges, helping America’s large corporations get richer and more powerfull at expense of Bahraini people.

  24. Mohammed said


    Thank you for your honesty. I very much disagree with your views, but understand where they come from because I have Iraqi relatives who think exactly the same way.

    Since you are a journalist and have your fingers on the pulse of Iraqi politicians, do you believe that most people in Iraqiya hold similar views to yours regarding shia not being fit for security posts (and by that extension, leader of the country since the PM is really in charge of all the security people below him as well).

    I must say I don’t understand the concept of shia disloyalty in majority shia countries. For example, in Bahrain where shiites are 70% of the country, are you saying that Bahraini shiites would not be loyal to atleast the welfare of the 70% of the country, whereas a sunni leader would be loyal to everybody? What gives hime the right (besides Saudi troops) to rule over the 70% who dont want him?

    Finally, how do you define loyalty in the first place? Is loyalty a binary 0 1 phenomena, or are there grades? For example, in tribal cultures like ours, many people (like Saddam) work on reciprocal tribal loyalty. Finally, I think this concept of loyalty is probably a misnomer to begin with. Does the King of Bahrain really love King Abdalla of Saudi Arabia? probably not. But he does fear him and respect his power, so he will do what is necesary to please him so that he can retain the power that Abdallah allows him to have. Does al-Maliki love Iran? Nope. But he will not antagonize Iran as long as they support him against surrounding countries who seek to impose sunni hegemony over the shia as they have done in Bahrain.

  25. Kermanshahi,
    You distort the point to suit your own fear and ideology.
    I don’t believe that the Shia Baharna are treated well but that is not the point. The point is nobody who puts his/her sect or ethnic identity above that of his country should receive an administration position because they cannot do justice in a multi-ethnic society. We saw that with Maliki who simply cannot punish any of his corrupt people, he cannot transcend his Shia identity in order to be truly the prime minister of all Iraq. Talbani shows a similar attitude when he cannot transcend his Kurdish identity when he named Karkuk the Kurds’ Jerusalem.

  26. Jason said

    I presume Iraq is raking in windfall profits with high oil prices due to the upheaval in the rest of the ME?

  27. Santana said

    Kermenshahi- First of all- I am not a Sunni…and boy are the Shiites and Kurds running Iraq now are doing a great job!!….Iraq is in such bliss !! infact the saddest statements coming from Iraq is that everyone longs for the pre-2003 days !!Wow, when Iraqis long for Saddam it shows just how bad things are…..your Shiite Majority and Mam Jalal are doing a wonderful job !!….just like the Bahraini Shiites will if they take power in Bahrain….I will take King Hamad ANYDAY over Maliki and so would millions of TRUE Iraqis !!

  28. Santana said

    Thanks Mohamed-

    I really enjoy reading your perspective on things and you have very balanced views……I was going to answer you but then Faisal Kadri said it for me so well…..and BTW I am not a journalist as you stated… and just so everyone stops guessing- I am just an Iraqi that truly cares for Iraq but also has access to many leaders in Iraq, the region and in the U.S.

  29. Reidar Visser said

    Seems we shall have to wait even a bit longer for the security ministries: This item is not on the agendas of the two first meetings of next week’s parliament, which have just been published.

  30. Bendel said

    What are the agendas of the upcoming parliament sessions?
    Also, do you think the lawmakers dare to take a two month spring break when people complain
    about inefficiency?

  31. Miss N said

    Reidar, does it not prove that with views coming from the likes of Santana prove Iraq is not as cohesive as you say?

    And if you dont mind me saying, you are responsible for this blog, is it a good idea to allow racists, ignorant views to be blurted out!! I mean you dont want to turn this into a Jerry Springer show. Because everyone has the right to an opinion but not when that opinion is racist/sectarian and destructive.

    Santana, I dont understand by people get upset with your comments, I find them funny, your dreams of an Iraq with weak shia power will never happen. Its best to accept reality. Eventually the Kurds will split from Iraq which will then leave Iraq with a shia majority of 80%.

    My first comment and probably the last.

  32. Salah said


    The problem these days for any Iraqi speaks in different tone about the regime its ready and well-known just like Mohamed comments, they are living in their bubbles of fear and disconnections from the mainstream Iraqi.

    Anyway time will prove to them, as seen these day how ME citizenry lived for decades long now they rejecting their regimes, some rushed and thrown money seeking for long stay put they forgot the wealth that money they thrown over their citizenry it’s their citizenry rights comes and their wealth that Allah gifted their land not the regimes.

  33. Salah said

    Good read here:

    “Democracy is not just elections, of course,” said Allaa Talabani, a Kurdish lawmaker. “Democracy is belief. It is practice. Elections are just a mechanism.”

    The gulf between the Green Zone political elite and the Iraqi street remains vast, and the stirrings of Iraq’s own youth-led movement, inspired partly by the events in Egypt and Tunisia, suggest an effort to articulate an indigenous version of democracy, different from the one imposed after the American invasion.

    Ready or Not

  34. Kermanshahi said

    Faisal, it seems funny to me how Shi’a are opressed in every single Sunni-ruled country, yet as soon as a Shi’a majority get’s a representive Shi’a government, they suddenly have to be “multi-ethnic” and “non-secterian,” representing the kind of religious minority interests, which not a single Sunni regime cares about. And being pro-American doesn’t make you secular, or non-secterian, most Sunni regimes definetly represent secterian interests, even the secular ones. If this Bahraini king and his uncle the 40-years PM, were putting their country above their sect, they would be doing something for the country’s 70% Shi’a majority, most of which are living under the poverty line and many of which are unemployed, instead they are even employing foreign Sunnis just to make sure Shi’a don’t get jobs and asking Saudi forced to invade their country, to kill their people and this regime is Islamist, not secular. You think Saddam Hussein was putting his country before his sect? Why then did he fill his government and military leadership with Sunnis (except a few token Shi’as) and why did he make the minorities suffer the most?
    And why wouldn’t you put Allah (swt) above a few straight lines which the British drew in the desert 80 years ago?

    Santana, that you crave for Saddam’s Shi’a-Kurd killing days to come back, doesn’t mean majority of Iraqis want this. Yes, the Ba’athists and al-Qaeda wrecked havoc in post-invasion Iraq for the first few years, but now violence is down actually less people are dying than the amounth of people Saddam was killing. Now Nouri al-Maliki may be an autocrat, but he is literally an angel if compared to Saddam Hussein.

  35. Reidar Visser said

    Bendel, the next sessions are mostly devoted to the first and second readings of various laws that have been stalling for a long time. The debate on the salaries of the top state officials could prove interesting.

    Miss N, I try my best to screen comments for racism and I apologise if anything that should have been censored has slipped through.

    Just for the record, I of course disagree strongly with Santana about his comments on any restrictions on Shiites serving in top positions in the security sector, whether in Saudi, Bahrain or elsewhere. It is my conviction that these sectarian categories should be ignored altogether instead. Also, it is my sense that the regime in Bahrain remains deeply sectarian. I have been working on British documents on Bahrain in the early twentieth century lately and it is amazing how little appears to have changed!

  36. Kermanshahi, you said:
    “If this Bahraini king and his uncle the 40-years PM, were putting their country above their sect, they would be doing something for the country’s 70% Shi’a majority”
    I agree, the ruling class of Bahrain should have benefitted the Shia and other minorities.
    I also agree with Mohammed “how do you define loyalty in the first place?..”
    What Saddam had in common with the Bahraini rulers is the rewarding of what they see as loyalty to their regime when it is highly inaccurate, wasteful and counter-productive. It all came from Macchiavelli’s The Prince! The only sane Middle East policy in this respect is the Jordanian monarchy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that any of the policies are sectarian, they are simply Macchiavellian.

  37. Santana said

    Kermanshahi- I never asked nor advocated for the return of the Saddam era….my only crime here -that I can be criticized for- is that preferences in hiring of Security sensitive posts should only be given to citizens that are loyal to the Country more than their sect or ethinicity…like Faisal so rightly pointed out….so this is my “crime” and Dear Miss N- why am I not allowed to state my views since we are all supposed to be enjoying this great new democracy in Iraq?
    Why is Reidar supposed to censor me?? I would never ever ever ask for anyone to be censored on here…even if they said “Gas Chambers should be erected for all Secular Iraqis”….I would still respect their opinion (will never agree to it but will respect their right to say it).
    Reidar- Do you know what the Pariament’s agenda is next week?

  38. Salah said


    If you excuse me to just add Britt well knew ME region specially the Gulf and Iraq, in the past used this differences to depend on part of sec to hold the power in many places, so the question why they done that?
    This need to be more investigated, what the reasons behind that, in Iraq they brought non-Iraqi and put him in power as a king! Although Arab nationalisms was high with low rejection to the Britt’s act.
    However I do strongly agree with you in regard last paragraph of your comment but there is one thing needs to be addressed, it’s not the sec. as all, but some member/group trying to use the sec. for their self-necessities made /shaped this thinking as we seen in Iraq today with the shaky politics.
    Finally I apologies if my comments may causes offended any one here, if some feel that forgive me it’s unintentional.

  39. Salah said

    In one of outrages words spoken by Maliki today he said:

    Iraq’s Shi’ite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, said on Friday military intervention by Sunni Arab neighbors in Bahrain could spark a sectarian war in the region and must end.

    Could maliki tell us what did ignite spark a sectarian war in Iraq affter US military intervention?

  40. Kermanshahi said

    The issue is not directly what Santana himself thinks, but that the view he represents is one which exists widely among the Sunni elites who are supposedly the “non-secterianists” of Iraqi politics, but in reality they are driven much more by secterian interests and there is anti-Shi’a sentiment among most of them.

  41. Reidar Visser said

    Santana, the only agendas that have been published so far are those for Sunday and Tuesday, and they feature mostly first and second readings of laws that have stalled for ages. My guess is that there will be an amount of suspense building with expectations that Maliki will finally present his security ministers towards the end of the week, but we’ve heard that before…

  42. Bendel said

    Does the agenda include reading of the oil and gas law?

  43. Reidar Visser said

    Certainly not. That’s probably months away; some say years.

  44. Laith Saud said

    Salaam All,

    Interesting and forthright posts. I, too, come from a mixed Sunni-Shii Iraqi family and as any Iraqi will tell you, sectarianism emerged as a major social and political problem only after the 2003 invasion. But I think it may have been a political problem before that. There are still things that need to be reconciled in terms of Islamic political theology. You see ‘Sunnis,’ if I may generalize, are essentially secular in their theological outlook. The state has never been the ultimate source of religious authority, the jama’a is. For the Shiis, however, the ideal ruler is both political and religious in his authority so the possibility, and I stress only possibility, of theocracy is there. And since ’79, the more theocratic vision became preponderant in some Shii circles. But this vision cannot work in Iraq, so a theoretical reconciliation must take place. Unfortunately, Iraq has been so dismembered, disrupted and dominated by foreign forces (western and eastern), the requisite stability is not in place for Iraqis to engage these important philosophical questions rigorously. They are really not even on the table; the Americans set the table and never knew, understood or cared for what they were serving. This is why western lawyers should not be writing constitutions in Islamic countries. And, ultimately, Iraq’s entire constitution will need to be restructured to reflect Iraq’s true nature, which is multi-ethnic and multi-‘sect’ but cosmopolitan and centralized. The current constitution reflects an Iraq that is the figment of imperial imaginations, one that is sectarian and federal.

  45. Salah said

    This is why western lawyers should not be writing constitutions in Islamic countries.

    Well said Laith,
    However the Western” lawyer” who wrote the Iraqi constitution is very proud that he done it, start teaching the world about Islam and democracy? While many Muslim scholars in western world were ignored to have their say and contributions of Islam and Democracy.

    MSM Faull of pride by someone learned Arabic in Egypt study some Islamic rules he think with himself as a hero for Muslim world to give them democracy and to whom….to the Land& Nation that give him and taught him how to read and write also give the world the first ever Code of Law….

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