Iraq and Gulf Analysis

A Daawa Militia? The Appearance of Fursan Dawlat al-Qanun

Posted by Reidar Visser on Sunday, 28 August 2011 14:25

Throughout the post-2003 period in Iraqi history, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Daawa political party of Nuri al-Maliki has been its lack of any militia component. This set the Daawa apart from other Shiite Islamist movements like ISCI, the Sadrists and even Fadila (which had paramilitary affiliates at least in Basra). Indeed, during the summer of 2009 when other Shiite parties tried to convince Maliki to join them in a wider sectarian alliance, one of the arguments marshalled by Maliki in defence of going it alone was precisely that his party believed “in the state, not in militias”.

Last week, there were some cracks in this image as a previously unknown entity named “The State of Law Knights” (fursan dawlat al-qanun) appeared on the political scene with threatening comments against Kuwait. Unless Kuwait would stop its controversial Mubarak port project, it was said, military and popular action from the Iraqi side of the border would ensue. Despite seemingly frantic attempts by State of Law leaders to dispel the notion of any link between themselves and the new organisation that carries almost the same name, enemies of Maliki seized on the story as evidence that Maliki had finally began formalising a relationship between his own State of Law bloc and a paramilitary organisation.  Some even quoted anonymous Sadrist sources to the effect that the controversial tribal “support councils” that were established by Maliki in rural areas from 2008 onwards are in fact now being converted to a new role as paramilitary fursan.

So who got it right this time, the conspiracy theorists or Maliki’s people? There does in fact seem to be a degree of substance to the story. The secretary-general of the State of Law Knights is one Abd al-Sattar Jabbar al-Abbudi, who claims to have had “an electoral alliance with State of Law in the 2010 parliamentary elections”. This appears to be correct as far as there does indeed appear a candidate called Abd al-Sattar Jabbar Gati Khalifa on the State of Law list for Baghdad in 2010 who is almost certainly the same person (in 2005 he ran as an independent and was then called Abd al-Sattar Jabbar Gati al-Abbudi), although he seems to have run as an individual on the State of Law list in 2010 and not as the head of a separate entity within the State of Law coalition. As candidate number 114 he was hardly the top pick of the leadership, and he must have got less than the 1,300 personal votes that formed the threshold for winning promotion on the basis of personal votes on the State of Law list in Baghdad.

Accordingly, this latest phenomenon appears to be yet another incarnation of something we have seen previously: Political outfits that are clearly pro-Maliki, but that do not enjoy his formal endorsement. This has been seen previously with websites such as (which often but not always toes the Daawa party line). One interesting question is of course why Maliki –  who is being described by his detractors as increasingly autocratic – are unable to control these supposedly fringe elements within his very own coalition circles. Could the whole move be deliberate? The term “knights” has been used by Maliki to amplify his rhetoric in the past  such as during the “Charge of the Knights” operation in Basra in 2008.

As for the Mubarak port issue itself, a good deal of it looks like storm in a teacup designed to redirect attention from the general incompetence of the Iraqi government in making progress on its own harbour projects around Basra. Shiite politicians may find it potentially useful since it distracts from criticism concerning Iranian trespassing on the Iraqi border in the Kurdish areas, but if it is allowed to take precedence at the expense of more pressing domestic issues, Iraq rather than Kuwait is likely to be the main casualty of this whole affair.

26 Responses to “A Daawa Militia? The Appearance of Fursan Dawlat al-Qanun”

  1. Kermanshahi said

    Al-Maliki is really the new Saddam Hussein, they’ve had an increasing amounth of similarities over the years and now this guy also wants to invade Kuwait?

    BTW, isn’t it ironic, that after 20 years of war now, between and US and Iraq, due to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, the guy they installed in power, is now threatening to do exactly the same thing.

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Well Maliki isn’t exactly saying that he is going to invade. But it is interesting that the fursan appear now, in the middle of the heated debate about the security ministries. I still see Maliki’s stance on those ministries as the real litmus test.

  3. observer said

    Poor Maliki. He is so misunderstood……. He wants to do the right thing but Iraqya just want let him (sorry Muhammad, but I just can’t get that idea out of my head). He really wants to give the ministry of defense to a sunni and Iraqya is a representative of the sunnis but it can not assign the ministry to Iraqya (anybody else notes the contradiction?) so he takes it on by Wakala like the Interior but Da3wa only has three ministers?

    A first grade farce, if you ask me. I can’t wait to the next elections. If Da3wa gets the same number of votes, or worse still even more, then I say Iraqis deserve their leaders.

  4. Salah said

    Three is one thing missing in “Kermanshahi statement about same man installed in power by US did not mentioned Iran and Turkey while they bombing Iraqi villages on its borders between two countries, Why he keep silent about that.

    For eight years both countries counting to wage war on Iraq, Its interesting to have “Kermanshahi” answers for us about this matter?

  5. Reidar Visser said

    An interesting thing in all of this is Shahristani taking on the electricity ministry as acting minister. Until now, State of Law politicians have generally shunned the important service ministries – notice that they’re almost exclusively held by Iraqiyyya, Sadrists and Kurds. Does Shahristani really think he can turn it around when it comes to electricity?

  6. observer said

    Isn’t ministry of trade a service ministry. Recall that a lot of people are still dependent on the rations. That one is in shambles too. At any rate, I am not sure what Shehristani thinks. If he is humble enough, he should replicate what Krg is doing. Soon enough though, he and Maliki will have a falling out. After all, Sheristani is a candidate for PM position and I trust that Maliki is going to make sure that Sheristani will not grow too big for his britches.

  7. Salah said

    Looks Shahristani taking on the electricity ministry as acting minister for two reasons:

    1- To cover up his involvement in the corruptions case which still under investigations.

    2- He will turn the electricity around the game in Iraq by using new tool “INTERNET” to get things roller for the power in Iraq.

    وأوضح عواد ان “الشهرستاني وعبر كتب رسمية خاطب وزارة الكهرباء بأنه اطلع على الشركتين الالمانية والكندية من خلال شبكة الانترنت وتأكد بأن الشركتين رصينتين”، لافتا الى أنه “كيف لحكومة عراقية تعتمد في تعاقداتها بمبالغ كبيرة على شبكة الانترنت”.

  8. Reidar Visser said

    Observer, as long as we are talking about the current govt, the trade minister was nominated by the Kurds. Also, what specifically do you think Shahristani should copy from the Kurds? I assume you are talking about electricity policy here, no?

  9. observer said

    I was referring to Sudani from last year. he was a da3wa guy, no?

    As for what can be copied – Privatization is the answer. KRG has 24/7 and solved the problem of not having the capital to invest nor the operational know-how by contracting with Ahmed Ismael to build plants in KRG and worked out a deal where the flared gas is used to generate electricity. The next step in KRG is to improve the tariff collection system and set rates to where they can recover the money paid to Ismael as well as regulate consumption and improve night time usage through the installation of smart meters and charging less for night time usage of power through lower rates at night and higher rates for industrial usage and day time usage, especially in peak hours.

    Privatization efforts in Iraq, have floundered and investors have not been encouraged (through laws and application as opposed to just talk). This is not Shehrestani’s fault per se, but it is not a secrete that the public sector is incapable of operating at a profit or planning for more than yesterday’s needs. Iraq currently needs more than 15000 mega watts of capacity and we are hovering around 5500 (it was around 3600 in 2003).

  10. Reidar Visser said

    Observer, about Sudani, I was just making the point that it seems State of Law made a deliberate decision in December 2010 not to get too many service ministries in the current govt, which makes the recent move by Shahristani interesting.

    As for the role played by ISCI in this, please look at these comments by one of their deputies describing the Mubarak port project as a Saudi-American conspiracy:

    اتهم النائب عن التحالف الوطني قاسم الأعرجي، الاثنين، الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والسعودية بدفع الكويت لبناء ميناء مبارك، داعيا الجامعة العربية إلى التدخل لحل أزمة الميناء.

    وقال الأعرجي في حديث لـ”السومرية نيوز”، إن “هناك دفع سعودي أميريكي للكويت لبناء ميناء مبارك، وأن إصرار الكويت على إكمال المشروع في مراحله الثالثة والرابعة ليس من مصلحة الكويت، ولا تصب بمصلحة العلاقات بين بلدين متجاورين”، معتبرا أن “دفع السعودية يهدف لإضعاف النظام السياسي العراقي، لأنها تتعامل بطائفية للاختلاف المذهبي بينها وبين الحكومة العراقية”، بحسب قوله.

    وأشار الاعرجي إلى أن “دفع الولايات المتحدة للكويت هو من أجل إبقاء قواتها بالعراق في أكثر فترة ممكنة”، داعيا الجامعة العربية إلى “التدخل لحل الأزمة بين العراق والكويت، ومن أجل تحسين العلاقات العربية”.

  11. Mohammed said

    Dear Observer (and all)

    Let me clarify my about my earlier posts…I did not mean to imply that the failures of the current government are the fault of Iraqiya. Undoubtedly, all the parties in power today are full of corrupt, and inept politicians, including state of Law/Dawah.

    However, as Reidar has pointed out, Iraqiya has many of the service ministries in their portfolio. Take electricity for example. You (observer) have made several thought provoking and common sense suggestions for how Iraq can get the electricity capacity improved. My question is: why isnt their a national blue-print and strategy for how to fix this. At one level there is a strategy, and then it translates into implementaion. Iraqiya ministers should be able to hire the best western consulting firms to at least develop a modern strategy (just look at how UAE did it for example by hiring consultants to help them with all their national strategies). The next level is implemention. The minister was just fired for signing a 1.7 billion dollar deal with suspect companies. The fact that the minister has the authority to sign such large deals means he can meaningfully direct big dollars at projects. My question is: why isn’t there even a strategy in place? You want to blame state of law, then at least you can just say, “Hey, we came up with a plan, and even proposed it and published it publicly, but al-Maliki shot it down.” Did this happen? Is there an urgency of upgrading national infrastructures on the part of Iraqiya, or do they devote all their energies to things like national defense and security?

    It would seem to me, from a pure political interest point of view, al-Maliki would want Iraq’s electricity to get to a point that satisfies the Iraqi people, otherwise he and his party will be out of jobs next election. It also seems to me that Iraqiya would want al-Maliki to fail at this. I am not proposing or suggesting anything as crazy as you might say it is. Look at the USA. The republicans have even stated boldly that their number one agenda item is to make sure Obama is a one-termer. Just how would republican politicans feel if the stock market shot up 20%, unemployment dropped to 6%, and housing market picked up? It would spell their defeat in the polls.

    Observer, I hold you to a higher standard than I hold a bunch of high school drop outs in dawah and ISCI (with the exception of shahristani who seemed to do a reasonable job in the oil ministry). You are a very intelligent man by any metric…My point is: Iraqiya has smart people in their organization. You certainly don’t need me to tell you how to fix Iraq’s infrastructure. I am sure you guys have the native talent (or know where to get western talent) to figure all these things out. Is there a will to do it? And if so, what practically is preventing you from carrying this vision out?


  12. Reidar Visser said

    Just in case we needed a reminder about the uglier, more sectarian side of the State of Law coalition, here is a contribution also published on from Adnan al-Sarraj attacking Hashemi and the Nujayfi brothers for daring to go on pilgrimage to Saudi “at a time when the Americans are about to withdraw and when there are calls for establishing the Anbar and Nineveh federal regions”. Yeah right:

    اعتبر قيادي في ائتلاف دولة القانون الاثنين زيارة نائب رئيس الجمهورية طارق الهاشمي ورئيس مجلس النواب اسامة النجيفي ومحافظ نينوى اثيل النجيفي الى المملكة العربية السعودية بعنوان اداء مناسك العمرة مثيرة للريبة ،ومثارا للتساؤل ورفع هواجس الخوف عند العراقيين” .
    وقال عضو الائتلاف عدنان السراج: ان زيارة قيادات سنية مثل الهاشمي والنجيفي ومحافظ نينوى اثيل النجيفي، الى جانب ورود معلومات لدينا تشير الى امكانية التحاق القيادي في القائمة العراقية رافع العيساوي بهم، مع قرب الانسحاب الامريكي من العراق وتصاعد حدة المطالبات باقليمي الانبار ونينوى ودعم المتظاهرين السلفيين في سوريا وتصاعد وتيرة دعم المشروع السعودي بالضغط على سوريا والعراق ، يثير المخاوف والتساؤل”.

  13. Kermanshahi said

    I know al-Maliki isn’t actualy going to invade Kuwait, but if he could, he would and so it’s funny how after all they’ve been through in 20 years to change Iraq’s regime, they ended up with a leader who still wants to invade Kuwait, which is how the whole thing started. Now don’t get me wrong, there was nothing funny about the Iraq War, but the American failure is what’s laughable, especialy since they came in with such arrogance.

    As for Iranian and Turkish operations on Iraqi soil, well regardless of weather the PKK is good or bad, if they want indpendence from Turkey or Iran, they’ll have to take their fight there. You just can’t have a non-state militia controlling large parts of your country, especialy if they use it to attack foreign countries with. Regardless of what we think of the Kemalist Regime in Ankara or the Islamic Regime in Tehran, it’s not as if they were quick to immedietly attack Iraqi soil, this has been going on for years, hundreds of Iranian and Turkish servicemen have been killed by attacks fromout Iraqi soil, they have been trying to guard their borders but Iraqi and the KRG have not even attempted to guard their side of the border, now you have at one side of the border security forces guarding, and at the other side (the Iraqi side), militias shooting at them. The Turks and Iranians have sent numerous requests to Iraq to start policing it’s borders, but these fell on deaf ears. If you are a souvereign state you control your own territory and borders, if you don’t, than you do not have the right to complain when foreign forces retaliate against militias in those territories.

  14. observer said

    On the port – the solution is so simple yet or erstwhile non-sectarian, brilliant PM and his gang of Law and Order fame seem to be unable to see yet. Kuwait is building the port for what? To service Iraq – that what for!!!.

    In Allawi’s time, 2004, we had plans for a 14 billion dollar port ready to implement. Not enough time to negotiate. Yet after 6 years of Da3wa rule, the port remains a plan (though obviously more costly due to inflation). I was laughing out loud when I heard Shehristan’s plan for submerged oil tanks in the gulf instead of a deep draft port. Whose brilliant idea that is/was?. I can just imagine the leak from the 9 floating/submerged tanks. But that is another subject entirely.

    The point is about Kuwait port. What would Kuwait do with a large port that Iraq does not allow imports from? The pressure point is so easy to see, I am wondering who is running the show in the Green Zone? We need funding for the deep port – ok. Then get into an agreement with Kuwait where they finance a port that straddles the borders and we operate together and solve the border problem at the same negotiation. Instead, we fire rockets and talk like Germany circa 1934 flexing non-existent mussels. I suppose that is what you get when you put religious people in charge. It is god’s will after all – no?

    Muhammad, on the issue of plans. Why do you think Iraqia is interested in the strategic council? To get power? The answer is NOT. We have plans and we have blue prints that we have arrived at with careful study in all the sectors that the council draft law identifies, including higher education. That is what the strategic council is supposed to study, modify, and implement. Do I need to tell you who is stopping the show?

    On electricity, Shallal can not do anything without approval of Shehristani my friend, nor did the previous ministers. How else do you think Maliki and company control the agenda? Note, Maliki does not want Shalal or the electricity portfolio be investigated by the parliament lest the stink of the last 6 years come up from the septic tanks of secrecy and darkness. I by no means want to defend Shalal. He deserves not only to be sacked but put in jail regardless of his degree of fault or the culpability of Shehristani and/or Maliki.

    Happy eid. The weather if breaking here and for those who survived the summer, there are better times ahead where they do not need the electricity nor put up with the constant din of generator motors in their back yards.

    Be ware of what logic you use. Under your logic, Israel is justified to go into southern Lebanon and maybe even the US invading Mexico – after all it is protection of borders that is the goal and if every country takes the liberty to use force to pursue across borders – well, let me not go count the areas where we will have wars (Pakistan/India comes right to mind).

    Nobody has the right to pursue across borders and least of all bombing civilian concentrations under the guise of pursuing terrorists. Ever heard of the illegality of collective punishment? I do not want to go into side debates about who is right and who is wrong. Just a reminder that one should be consistent with arguments regardless of which side your heart supports.

  15. Kermanshahi said

    I would agree that under normal circumstances, Israel would have the right to go into Southern Lebanon if they are attacked from there, since every country has the right to defend itself. What I disagree with, is Israel’s right to exist in the first place. I say Zionists back to Europe, Palestine for the Palestinians. And normaly you can’t just follow terrorists across any borders and strike wherever you like (although USA does do this, to many countries), but in this case there are militans actually controlling territory on the border and they have been controlling it for 20 years, it’s not like they’re hiding and Iraqi authorities can’t find them, no they are openly controlling that land and waging war on neighbouring states, while Iraqi authorites are just not bothered to do anything about it and it’s not like they’ve tried and failed like Pakistan V Taliban, in this case they haven’t even tried to secure the border, so you can’t have it both ways.

    As for tensions with Kuwait, there is an Iranian strategy plan to squeeze Saudi Arabia from both sides, using Shi’a militias in Southern Iraq and Northern Yemen and Kuwait is a place which they undoubtedly will seek to target, due to it’s location, and it’s alliance with KSA. In 2007 and 2008 there were two major confrontations between Iranian and Saudi proxy groups first in Gaza than in Beirut, with on both occasions the Saudi side being crushed. Two years ago we saw the Quds Force for the first time drew the Saudi Army itself into conflict, in Yemen and this was a disaster for them, they took heavy losses and a lot of humiliation before simply giving up. Saudis are already going broke, over the last 30 years they have spent all their savings and created an enormous defecit. In Barain however, Saudis were succesfull in crushing the uprising, mainly due to the fact that it was a peacefull uprising, but it has damaged their image (which, with all the stonings, the beheadings, the rhethoric of Wahabi clerics, women not being allowed to drive and being the heart of al-Qaeda, ect. was already not that good) so the Iranians want to stretch them thin and Kuwait and Southern Iraq will likely be new battle grounds.

  16. Reidar Visser said

    Okay, but please try to keep the focus on Fursan Dawlat al-Qanun!

  17. Islam said

    Al-Maliki is really the new Saddam Hussein, they’ve had an increasing amounth of similarities over the years and now this guy also wants to invade Kuwait? please can you explain your point?

  18. Muhammed,
    “al-Maliki would want Iraq’s electricity to get to a point that satisfies the Iraqi people, otherwise he and his party will be out of jobs next election”
    Your statement holds if Maliki really believed in the political process when his actions prove otherwise, for example repressing demonstrators and journalists, covering up his corrupt loyalists and promoting his party comrades beyond political reason.
    I don’t know why and how Maliki could not fix electricity with so much money spent but I don’t think Iraq needs western consultants, we need politicians who listen to free advise from Iraqis. Maliki does not listen to his people maybe because he thinks he can buy votes or coerce voters through Iranian support.

  19. Salah said

    “one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Daawa political party of Nuri al-Maliki has been its lack of any militia component.”

    inside Iraq it knowing well what militias done to Iraqis and Iraq, as for Daawa saying “ lack of any militia component” this party did not had lack in this matter (Daawa old and new “ie Jaffrey faction and Maliki faction” both they worked early days as one party to have their power recognised inside Iraq. there were battle between all sec. parties to get control things inside Iraq. If there, were not Daawa ‘s militarised Militias at that time that not meaning they did not have their own militias or “has been its lack of any militia component” ?

    Now the new things comes from Sader he wearing military dress and he confirm that he done it.

    ظهور زعيم التيار الصدري بالزي العسكري في جلسة (مسلحين)

  20. Salah said

    Al-Maliki is really the new Saddam Hussein, ……..wants to invade Kuwait?

    With all due respect, of this view but there is missing bit or difference between the two?

    Which he should first wage war with Iran then Kuwait will follow thereafter you can say “Al-Maliki is really the new Saddam Hussein”

  21. Mohammed said


    thanks for your reply…I still do not understand why al-Maliki would undermine you guys when it comes to things like electricity…

    even if al-Maliki did not believe in elections, he surely is not looking for massive street protests come next summer when people will be asking why they have no electricity. It is politics 101…just look at the saudis. They dont believe in elections either, but King Abdullah was smart enough to throw massive amount of spending, increases in salaries, etc to persuade people that street protests against autocratic govt rule is not a good idea.

    so, I am failing to find a motive for SOL’s actions. My over-riding hypothesis is that al-maliki/Dawah want to stay in power as long as possible. Keeping people ticked off about not having electricity is surely not a recipe to achieve that goal, no?

    Reidar: with respect to the Knights of the SOL, is there any evidence that this is a real “militia” beyond a simple press release? Has there been any real militia-like action ever attributed to this group. It’s one thing to issue a threatening press release, and entirely another when you actually have the muscle to back it up. As for motive, does SOL really need a militia anymore given that al-Maliki has created several brigades as part of the offical iraqi military that are quite loyal to him and I am sure they have far more fire power than this new alleged Knights organization? To me this all seems to be mostly smoke to get the iraqi people focused on external threats (like the Kuwaiti port) and forget about the government’s failures. Or just some other iraqi character seeking to make a name for himself…

    Observer, I understand your suggestion about the kuwaiti port being designed to serve Iraq, but in terms of Iraq’s future needs, dont you think it is vital that Iraq has reasonable indepedent access to the Gulf. In your estimation, how big a threat to Iraq’s future access is this port? From what I have read, they are alleging that the port will make it difficult for ships traveling to Um Qasr. How valid do you think such a concern is (especially since Iraq lost vital coastline after the kuwaiti invasion and resulting UN border deliniation).


  22. Kermanshahi said

    Salah, al-Maliki has in the past also said he didn’t recognise the Algiers accord, which was the reason for the Iran-Iraq War, and frankly he’s picked fights with all Saddam’s other old enemies, al-Assad, the Saudis, the Kurds, the Islamists, now he doesn’t have the kind of military Saddam had. Iran isn’t what it was in 1980 either, at the time when Saddam attacked the they were broke from the 1 year strike against the Shah, the country was in turmoil with armed groups contesting fighting each other for power in every city, tribal uprisings in every province and the military had practicaly fallen apart, today Iran is relatively stable (especialy compared to Iraq) and has the most powerfull military in the region. Now without an air force or missles and only a few hundred armored vehiles, he cannot dream of invading Iran or infact any of Iraq’s other neighbours or even the Peshmerga. But if he could, would he do it to boost his internal popularity and credibility as nationalist? I think there’s a pretty reasonable chance he would and he’s also becoming increasingly authoritarian, like Saddam.

    Now he’s not exactly Saddam Hussein when it comes to killing millions of people, and he’s not an absolute dictator (though, I think he’d definetly like to be one) yet either, although he showed int he recent elections that he’d rather use unconstitutional methods to ban opposition than accept election defeat. I believe is a bit comparable to guys like Putin, Erdogan or Chavez, and I think if Iraq wants to be a democracy, they better get rid of this guy as soon as possible because the longer he stays, the more difficult it will be to shift him, until eventualy, that could become impossible.

  23. Reidar Visser said

    Mohammed, the link to militia remains at the level of unsubstantiated accusations, for example the one I alluded to in the post by an “unnamed” Sadrist source saying the majalis asnad were being converted to armed fursan. There is also this from Nineveh:

    وكان النائب عن القائمة العراقية فارس عبدالعزيز السنجري كشف عن تشكيل ميليشيات تحمل اسم فرسان دولة القانون في محافظة نينوى متهما رئيس الوزراء بالسعي للسيطرة عسكريا على المحافظة.

    Again, just rumours at this stage.

  24. observer said

    Muhammad and all,
    Da3wa and the other Islamist parties put loyalty before qualifications in naming their ministers, and while in other countries the minister may be just a political figure head and the real decisions are made by professional civil servants, in Iraq, the power (all power) is vested in the minister himself (even a small decision as to who to send outside Iraq for training requires a signature by a minister). So what do you expect when the people put in charge are knownothings and their previous experience was limited to rawzakhoons, or kabachies or sweet makers – not that there is anything wrong with legitimate work but it simply does not qualify them to make intelligent decisions in technical terms.

    As to why Maliki is not pushing for better services as it would help him politically? Beats me!. You would think that they are logical and they would do the right thing for themselves, but then again if Mahdi second coming is around the corner – why bother (just jesting here). Over the past few years they have been engaged in corruption presumably to finance their political operations and become independent of Iranian financing – ok, by now, they should have accumulated sizable war chests but they also have spent a lot of political capital protecting their own (sudani for example). So it is time to concentrate on performance or pass the buck on other political parties for not doing the job right.

    But I think that a more logical answer is that they take the voter for granted. I had a couple of interesting discussions with mid level politicians from the south and they pretty much stated that the voter has no other choice because if they do not vote for them then they will be voting for Kufar or Baathis. Note that the campaigns in the previous elections were limited to if you vote for the other side you are voting for baathis. So maybe the assumption that they should do things just for their own good is flawed and hence they need to be taught a good lesson by the voter… Well, that makes you appreciate the fear of the attempts of Maliki to control the election commission more. In fact that is what is so disappointing with the interpretation of the constitution as the PM coming from the largest parliamentary block instead of the largest electoral block. Given that the first session can remain “open” indefinitely and She3a parties will be a majority regardless of the candidates (since they are expected to vote for sect always), the chances are there will always be enough time to apply pressure from the outside to form a government controlled by She3a political parties.

    Where does that leave us? Well if you believe in democracy (and I do), you have to believe that in the end the voter will figure it out and choose not to be taken for granted and give the other side a chance. It remains to be seen if I am naïve or not when it comes to democracy. But if the Sunni population gives up on the idea of voting for a she3a candidate that does not belong to the She3a parties, well then the calls for federal regions can only be expected to gain in strength in the west. As it is, the federal voices in basra are increasingly getting stronger given the lack of interest of Baghdad in developing the south.

    On the port issue. If you look at the world as a zero sum game, then of course Iraq should have its own port. What I am saying is that Kuwait is building this port not because it needs it for its own services, but rather to service the Iraqi market. In other words, it is an investment in the future. Well, if the investor sees that his money is going to be wasted, then he should act sanely and either stop the investment or come to an arrangement. Given my belief in globalization, I see this as an opportunity for Iraqis and Kuwaitis to work together and create an atmosphere of mutual benefit instead of a zero sum game. Win-win solutions are better than win-lose solutions (which actually require military strength to enforce for the long term). But, as always, thinking outside the box is not the forte of Arabs unfortunately. We continue to live in the past, holding grudges for hundreds if not thousands of years. It is time we wake up and start living in the future or building for the future. But who is listening????

    Iraq’s problems need thinking outside the box – i once heard it in a lecture and I think it is apropos.

  25. Salah said

    Let see who have full control in Iraq?

    Is it al-Maliki
    Is It Iraqi government?
    Is it Sec. Ethnic formula parties?
    Is it Iraqi fragmented Parliament?
    Is it the shadow democracy in Iraq?

    This is will tells you as published in main Iraqi news paper “outlet”
    القوات الأميركية تغلق الأجواء العراقية وتمنع حركة الطيران حتى إشعار آخر

  26. Kermanshahi said

    At the moment who control Iraq is US, after the occupiers are gone, we will see who ends up with the real power.

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