Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Qatari Jets, KRG and Iraqi Airspace Sovereignty in the Hashemi Case

Posted by Reidar Visser on Tuesday, 3 April 2012 13:28

There are many interesting aspects to the recent departure by Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi from Erbil in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) area of Iraq to Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Among those aspects is one that has yet to receive the attention it deserves: The means of travel used by Hashemi – who is sought by the central government in an alleged criminal case – from Erbil to Doha.  Most accounts simply state that Hashemi arrived in Doha on 1 April en route from Erbil. Some Kurdish interior ministry officials even went on record saying they had no knowledge about Hashemi’s departure.

The picture of Hashemi arriving in Doha, published by the website of the vice-president, is clear enough. It shows Hashemi stepping out of a Qatar Airways jet, apparently onto a red carpet and with ministers waiting to welcome him.

So, Hashemi arrived with Qatar Airways. It is true that they have announced plans for an Erbil–Doha service. But that service will not commence until May. Also, it will be operated by Airbus 320s. The aircraft on the picture looks slimmer than an Airbus, perhaps more like a Bombardier?

The question of Iraqi airspace sovereignty has received some attention lately, both with dramatic declarations that Iraq would “close its skies” for the Arab League summit, and in relation to reports that Iran is continuing to send weapons and fighters to Syria on flights crossing Iraqi territory.  What this picture seems to indicate is that a foreign country, Qatar, can in fact send its aircraft in and out of Iraq with impunity, even on missions perceived as hostile by the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki. Whether the jet actually flew straight down to Gulf (as is most likely) or headed via Turkey and Jordan to avoid “central government” territory is somewhat academic. Guarding Iraq’s borders is a central government prerogative anyway and it seems entirely unrealistic that the Qatari jet landed in Erbil without the express permission of the Kurds.

On top of persistent conflicts related to Kurdistan in the oil sector and the judicial extradition battle for Hashemi, the latest Qatar Airways episode once more raises questions about the true nature of the so-called Iraqi federation. It is becoming increasingly unclear whether the country is anything more than a very loose confederation.

46 Responses to “Qatari Jets, KRG and Iraqi Airspace Sovereignty in the Hashemi Case”

  1. Mohammed said


    If the plane came over southern Iraq, wouldn’t they file a flight path with Baghdad airport? There are planes coming and going over those skies. If there was no air traffic control, it would be a set up for disaster and my guess is that most international airlines would refuse to fly to Iraq.
    Secondly, why doesn’t Maliki push the constitutional aspects of this and demand central govt control over customs in Erbil? If Barzani is so concerned about the constitution, why not corner him and ask that he follow constitution or southern Iraqi airspace will be closed to ALL flights trying to land in Erbil?

    Why hasn’t Maliki even moved to strip hashemi of his official title in parliament through a vote?

    I still don’t understand what this was all about? If it was regarding terrorism, Maliki could have arrested him in Baghdad when he had the chance, but he didn’t. If it is just a political game to get rid of an opponent, then Maliki comes off looking like a weak inept ruler with no real state of law. So what’s the point?

    If these are trumped up charges, what does Maliki gain except being ridiculed by tiny pipsqueak Qatar?


  2. Reidar Visser said

    Mohammed, lots of questions here. I have even seen the suggestion that Maliki may actually have wanted Hashemi to leave the country! A possible explanation is that he disliked greater closeness between the Kurds and Iraqiyya as result of the presence of Hashemi in the KRG area. Whether this explains the sloppy air control I don’t know.

  3. Reidar, is it possible that Iran and Qatar are flying around Iraq as they please as the State doesn’t have the capability to enforce its will over Iraqi airspace as the Iraqi Air Force has no military jets of any kind?
    While the State has the resources to monitor flights, I’m don’t think it has the ability to deter violators.
    The US Air Force was in charge until about late 2011, but I don’t know if the USAF left Iraq when the US Army left in December 2011.

  4. faisalkadri said

    I read a while ago that the US controls flights below 24,000 feet, Iraq has nominal control above but does not have the means to enforce a restriction or monitoring. I mentioned this in respect of a possible Israeli strike across Iraqi airspace in a blog entry.

  5. Santana said

    VP Tareq Alhashimi is still in his official capacity despite all these politicized and sectarian driven fabricated charges against him….Maliki wants to get rid of his political opponents by any means…..he acts like he cares about the Iraqi people and the alleged victims then he has the nerve to contact Barzani a few weeks ago to allow Hashimi to leave…so my question to Maliki is “If Hashemi has blood on his hands of 150 victims as you say-then why would you let a “murderer” escape?? what about the victims families??………….. unless ofcourse the whole thing is 100% B.S – which it most definitly is !!!…. …..infact this stupid request is what tipped the balance and convinced Barzani and the Kurds that all charges are fabricated and made them take an honorable stand and tell Maliki to go to hell.

  6. bb said

    So Hashimi has scuttled Iraq. Seems like classic arab deal to me, especially as it was not publicised until after the summit. Maliki clearly was not going to back down; the govt has been proceeding as normal with support of Kurds; in those circs Hashimi’s continued presence in Kurdistan would have been a useless thorn to no good purpose. Question is whether Qatar will let Hashimi use it as a pulpit. Will he get an appearance on Al Jazeera?
    And where’s al-Mutlak these days?

  7. Salah said

    Not Just Qatar having making troubles not just to Iraq as usual Qatar stands in Arab nation but now Saudi has different view about Malik also:

    المالكي صوت لإيران.. أم حاكم للعراق؟!

  8. Lars said

    I assume this is not just a courtesy visit by N. Barzani to Iran.
    Sadr delegation recently in Erbil, Sadr opening office in Erbil, now meeting in Teheran..
    Why is this happening so fast.
    (not to mention Hashemi tour, Barzani US visit, Allawi Turkey tour…)
    I noted statements from M. Barzani, that kurds have no problems with Shiites and Dawa party, only with Maliki and few others. I see Salah´s link about Saudi´s attitude to Maliki.
    Is it just noise on the line,or is there presently a realistic possibility, that Maliki will be replaced or that he will have to sacrifice “others” .
    BAGHDAD ( Tariq al-Araji, search the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, with the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government Nechirvan Barzani, the general situation in the country. said the head of the Liberal parliamentary Bahaa al-Araji, “morning”: that “the meeting was held in Tehran during the visit of Barzani to Iran.” He al-Araji: The “The meeting has been arranged during the visit of Mr. Sadr, the region of Kurdistan, Barzani expressed as a great desire to visit Mr. Sadr,” stressing that the meeting did not address the issue of Tariq al-Hashimi.

  9. ATC said

    Iraq has no control over it’s airspace. It only has a limited air picture and no fighter jets or ground air defense. Long Range Radars have maintenance and connectivity issues so there are gaps in Iraqs air picture. And when they are able to observe aircraft in there airspace they have no means of enforcing no fly zones without an air force or ground air defense missile system. US F-16s will not arrive for years and US refuses to sell them any Stinger or Patriot missile systems.

  10. Salah said

    عاجل.. الهاشمي: غادرت العراق بطائرة قطرية وبموافقة الطيران المدني العراقي

  11. Reidar Visser said

    The quote from Al-Sharq is interesting: Hashemi says he obtained the permission of “Iraqi civil aviation authorities”. The question is, was that permission given from Baghdad or from Erbil? The latter apparently has a separate civil aviation authority but Hashemi’s chartered jet must have traversed Iraqi territory south of KRG en route to Doha.

  12. Salah said

    Reidar Visser,
    For Iraq major Air Traffic station is Balad so definitely Hashemi’s plane pass and identified to air traffic staff in Balad thorough its rout.

    It just makes no sense if Baghdad claims they do not he fly over Iraq toward Doha. Unless all those equipment and radars supplied by US companies and Britt’s are just like those explosive detectors that failed to detects explosives and caused major security braches and a lot of loses of lives from Iraqis.

    وزير النقل السابق يلمح الى ان الحكومة كان لها علم بسفر الهاشمي الى قطر ويوضح الاسباب

  13. faisalkadri said

    I am pretty sure that Maliki does not want Hashemy put on trial anywhere in Iraq.
    I think there is chance of Hashemy going back.

  14. Mohammed said

    Faisal & Santana

    Please help me understand why Maliki is doing this to al-hashemi? Why not Allawi? Mutlag? Nujaifi? What has Maliki gained? He looks like an idiot to even somebody like me (and for full disclosure I think Hashemi is sectarian) but concocting this against him just baffles me! The Sunnis can get another leader and Hashemi did not strike me as somebody who can do much anyways. This excuse of making an example out of him just doesn’t make sense. Why go through all the trouble and look stupid. A bomb or bullet seems much more simple and permanent and clean.

    For what it’s worth I also was disgusted by Maliki’s latest statements about “why should Assad fall?” I am against arming FSA by Saudis too but we should all be rooting for Assad’s downfall.


  15. faisalkadri said

    “Hashemi is sectarian” but Maliki is not?? That tells me where you are coming from.

    I will try to help you understand. Maliki is scared, this should be obvious. Fear strengthens sectarianism; it make the Shia vote along sectarian lines but it is also a blunt instrument, it makes people run away from the country, damages the economy and poisons society. Hashemi scares Maliki. I don’t think Maliki is trying to make him an example because he will not be the last person, there will be many more unfortunately but that is not Iran’s problem. Iran wants sectarian polarization because it serves its interest and she doesn’t care about the side effects. Therefore unless we have Iraqis willing to stand up to Iran, especially among the Shia, fear will continue to rule Iraq.
    There is a difference in understanding between the Shia and Sunnis which may have contributed to your misunderstanding. A recent poll showed that the Shia really believe that there is a legitimate legal process in Iraq (over 60%) while the Sunnis don’t (around 12%). I find this statistic terrible, if you think that Hashemi will get a fair trial then you must be among the 60+% who cannot accept reality as I see it.

  16. Mohammed said


    Thanks for the reply. Perhaps you misunderstood my questions.

    Let me respond to your points:
    You said:
    “Hashemi is sectarian” but Maliki is not?? That tells me where you are coming from.

    My response: Actually, Maliki is head of Da3wa which is a shiite based Islamist party. I have always stated that Maliki/Da3wa is designed for shiites and will never be accepted by all Iraqis. So, to clarify, Maliki is sectarian in my view. I think he views that shiites are the majority of the country so the leader should be from them. I do not agree with such a view. I believe in democracy, and that each citizen should have equal rights and priveleges of a fellow citizen irrespective of rights. However, my impression is that most shiites in Iraq have become pretty sectarian as have most sunnis. So as long as we have democracy and people vote along sectariain lines then shiites are likely to come out on top unless you want to suspend voting and impose a ruler over them.
    That being said, I also believe Hashemi to be sectarian. If Hashemi really believed in the rule of law, democracy, and was against sectarianism, then why is he so chummy with arab dictators in the gulf states. He is now visiting the saudis. Do the saudis treat their shiite citizens with the fairness you want Maliki to treat sunnis in Iraq? How about Saudi Arabia and Qatar sending in forces to help Bahrain crush the peaceful protests of their shiite majority? Do you have any doubt about what the saudis would do to their shiite citizens should they decide to form their own FSA (Free Shia Army) of saudi arabia. They would be just as brutal if not more so than Assad is now. So Hashemi is only against oppression when it is sunnis who are being oppressed, and not when they are the oppressors. This is just as hypocritical as Maliki’s recent statements regarding Syria. Let’s not compare the moral superiority of Hashemi vs Maliki.

    You said: “Hashemi scares Maliki”

    My response: That doesn’t answer my question. Why does he scare Maliki? What can Hashemi do? As VP, he has no real powers to do anything. If it is about succession to Talibani, there is another pro-Maliki VP that can take Talibani’s place should he die before his term is up.

    You said: “Iran wants sectarian polarization because it serves its interest and she doesn’t care about the side effects. Therefore unless we have Iraqis willing to stand up to Iran, especially among the Shia, fear will continue to rule Iraq.”

    My response: I whole-heartedly agree with you regarding Iran’s intentions. But that is only half the story. Iraqi shiites are not blind. Everywhere they look, they are surrounded by sunni arab states where Shia are tenth class citizens. The GCC satelite channels spew wahabi hatred calling shiites infidels, and anytime shia dare ask for their rights, then they are violently attacked. So, shia in Iraq feel empowered now, and similar to any group that was formerly oppressed, they adopt the motto “Never Again.” And all those saudis that were in Iraqi jails after coming to Iraq to murder shiites sort of drives the point home more than anything Iran can do.

    There needs to be a grand sect bargain for all the middle east. Imagine a compact between all the religious groups represented by religious leaders from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, etc where they agree that oppression of a group based on sect will not be tolerated, that all positions in govt and military and academia and business will be open to a citizen. Takfir will be abolished. Each sect’s religious rights and places of worship will be respected. We are Muslims…etc…etc. That is the best way to defeat Assad (the allawites support him for fear of being oppressed after he is gone)…

    You said: “There is a difference in understanding between the Shia and Sunnis which may have contributed to your misunderstanding. A recent poll showed that the Shia really believe that there is a legitimate legal process in Iraq (over 60%) while the Sunnis don’t (around 12%). I find this statistic terrible, if you think that Hashemi will get a fair trial then you must be among the 60+% who cannot accept reality as I see it.”

    My response: For the record…no I don’t believe the Iraqi judicial system is fair. Iraq is rife with corruption. I am pretty sure that if you take this poll in Saudi Arabia or Bahrain, you will see the same thing only, reversed. In fact, even in Iraq, I would like to see a poll about what sunnis and shiites think about the crimes of Saddam. I am quite sure you will see far greater percentage of sunnis praise him. I can tell you that my sunni brother in law loves Saddam and calls him a “lion.” Same goes for my mother-in-law. They are not bad people, and I love them dearly, but they have a skewed sectarian outlook on politics as do most Iraqis. It certainly doesn’t mean one group understands things better than the other.

    Finally, regarding the question of “reality”….for me the reality is that pretty much all the big movers and shakers in Iraqi politics are corrupt. Barzani accuses Maliki of corruption and becoming a dictator….but what is Barzani? Why is the president and prime minister from the same clan. Why is qubad talabani the ambassidor of the KRG to the USA? KRG certainly doesn’t abide by the Iraqi constitution. What happened to journalists in KRG who wrote anti-Barzani about all the civilians killed last year during the arab spring? If Iraqiya respects the rule of law and transparency and is against corruption, why not publish the Arbil agreement? Why does Iraqiya also do things in smoke-filled rooms? Iraqiya enlists the support of the GCC. Is that the model they want for Iraq? That certainly doesn’t get Da3wa off the hook either. Da3wa is seeking to impose new draconian rules against freedom of expression. Da3wa puts incompetent corrupt people in high ranking positions in govt. They don’t obey the consititution.

    My point is that all these parties are pretty corrupt from where I sit. However, getting back to my earlier question, I still don’t have the foggiest idea about what is really going on with respect to Hashemi, and I have yet to see a convincing explanation.



  17. observer said

    faisal and all,
    There are attempts on going to accuse Allawi also of terrorist activities related to Jund al Samaa!!!

  18. Salah said

    Maliki/Da3wa is designed for shiites and will never be accepted by all Iraqis.


    Excuse me if you don’t mind to correct your sentence above:

    Maliki/Da3wa they using Iraq Shiites, Maliki/Da3wa a party created to play their rule in Iraq politics.

    Maliki/Da3wa was not designed for Iraqis it’s the opposite using Iraqis to market themselves inside Iraq.

    You may remember how the communists party were succeed in Nasirah to level was called “The Little Moscow” they also used the Iraqi Shiites to market themselves then what the done to Shiites or to southern Iraq?

    In last 8 years showing the Iraqi specially most Shiites (middle and southern Iraq) the most neglected part in Iraq continuing more miserably after 2003 comparing to other parts of Iraq.

    If your statement right we should have Maliki/Da3wa working for southern Iraq with southern Iraq been better than today Kurdistan as they designed for them.
    What about Maliki/Da3wa stand about Syrian regime (btw I totally against regime change here) is it exactly like Iran stand?

    Sure you read Maliki/Da3wa speeches in regards by refusing any intervene from outside Syria but they done exactly the opposite when they came to Iraq.

    What hypocritical folks.

    May I pick your attentions to highlighted recent interaction between Da3wa after Arab summit in Baghdad and read between the lines what all those meeting for and about?
    1- الجعفري مخاطباً إيران
    2- الجعفري يبحث مع السفير الايراني مقررات قمة بغداد والعلاقة بين البلدين

    Another conflicting news:

    السعودية: الهاشمى سيبقى في الرياض حتى سقوط المالكي’

  19. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, that last part about Hashemi staying in Saudi until change of govt in Baghdad has been refuted by his office:

  20. Santana said

    Mohamed- you said

    ” Do the saudis treat their shiite citizens with the fairness you want Maliki to treat sunnis in Iraq? ”

    believe me if Sunnis in Iraq got half the rights that Shiites in Saudi get then the Iraqi Sunnis will be dancing in the streets !! We have talked about this before and I maintan that Shiites in Saudi and the GCC live with the same rights and freedoms as the Sunnis with just some restrictions on security and intel positions (and only because there is a percentage in there that are loyal to Iran and it’s hard to screen them)…….

    Are you aware that right now 90% of all the prisoners in Iraq are Sunnis !!! Saddam and Maliki are both cruel dictators but the difference is that Saddam was not sectarian – and in my humble opinion although I would never live under either but if I HAD to live in Iraq under one of these cruel dictators I would pick a Saddam type…because at least I know that I am safe as long as I stay out of politics….and no one will kick my door down and arrest me (to never be seen again) cuz my name is Omar or Othman……also corruption was unheard of pre-2003 !

    Again- I maintan that BOTH are evil but in my opinion Maliki is much worse …..ok……bring it on bud.

  21. Salah said

    Agreed, I read that also before, any think possible in Iraq today you can sure what is going on as looks the ship have more that one leader…….

    More in the way

    ائتلاف المالكي: الرياض والدوحة لا تستطيعان مواجهتنا اذا بدأنا حملة اعلامية ضد حكامهما


    you get support from top Iraqi politician!

    بارزاني يصعِّد من واشنطن هجومه على المالكي ويتّهمه بمطاردة «زعماء السنّة» خشية سقوط الأسد

  22. bb said

    Always seemed to me that the sunni/shiite divide was a class divide, not sectarian, with the Islamists filling the vaccum left by the Saddam/Baath/Sunnis killing off of the communists. Until 2003 the shia were always the underclass at the mercy of the minority in Iraq. That is why I have always found it reprehensible for commentators to excuse the atrocities of 1991 on the grounds that shia tribes participated as colluders with the regime. Such collusion by the oppressed and hopeless has always been a hallmark of tyrannies.

    Commenters like Santana stating that “Sunnis in Iraq got half the rights that Shiites in Saudi get then the Iraqi Sunnis will be dancing in the streets” indicates that sections of the sunni arab polity are still mourning the loss of absolute totalitarian power that their fellow sunni Saudi regime enjoys and will never be satisfied until they can restore it to themselves..


  23. Reidar Visser said

    Bb, I think you may need to (re)-read Batatu! Historically, Shiites were both the poorest and the richest in Iraq, with Shiite landowners and merchant topping the lists of well-to-do Iraqis.

  24. faisalkadri said

    Your narrative of class struggle in Iraq is so remote from Iraq and its recent history, I know some Iraqi communists are still hanging on to it but to me it seems so out of place because there was no class structure or anything like it, and those who achieved some degree of riches did so through trade or corruption. Inheritance in rich families does not mean class. It seems to me that you are influenced by outdated Marxist ideology.

    “Why does he (Hashimi) scare Maliki?”
    Why should Mutlak scare Maliki? Why should Allawi scare Maliki? They are all in weaker positions but that is not enough for a dictator. Maliki uses the logic of fear, anybody who uses different logic is a threat. You are assuming Maliki is rational, he is so only in the context of fear.

  25. Observer said

    I think that there is now a real divide regardless of the past. While the educated are still above the sectarian divide they are a minority and for a secular block to take over you need a majority.
    Is it permenant?
    I do not think so, but the longer the rule is divided (obtained) via sectarian based voting the problem will presist or becomes a permenant feature of the “new iraq”. Of course the rulers (on all sides) understand that implicitly and in my opinion they are all benefiting (and in some cases encouraging) from the preservation and eventual permenancy of the divide.
    So one asks: do they not understand that such policies will result in fragmentation and the division of iraq. The answer must be in the affirmative as these are smart people no matter how encompetent. So then that leads to asking why do the presist? Either they are somehow fooling themselves that the region or world powers will not allow the division or they want it to happen so they can have their own emirates.
    Today i am informed that there is an agreement to replace maliki by somebody else from the INA and that this has been discussed with iran but i have heard that tune before and will believe it when i see it. The problem (be it maliki at the helm or chalabi or madi or even zubaidi, etc.) is going to continue until we actually have a coalition that truly is a partnership with trust and who puts (and controls) the PM policies to make sure that all iraqis are treated equally and truly implements non sectarian policies and more importantly works on securing the independence of the judiciary, etc…..
    Allawi told me recently that he will not take on the mantle regardless but that he is willing and wants to help whomever is chosen by the partners in the new iraq to govern as long as there is a true acceptance of the partnership spirit. Theidea is that nobody can govern iraq alone except by force. So if we actually want peace in this country we need a democratic means of governance that does not nullify the rights of any minority. What we have now is what is described as the tyranny of the majority. I wish it were a true majority not something cobbled together by outside forces ;).

  26. Reidar Visser said

    I wonder whether, if Iran does indeed conspire to unseat Maliki by replacing him with Jaafari, will someone still continue to call M an Iranian lackey?

    It’s like Iraqiyya meeting with the honourable Iranian ambassador to avoid talking to that deplorable Iranian pawn, Maliki!

  27. Salah said

    Oopes sorry missing lines

    Maliki by replacing him with Jaafari.

    But if that happen will make difference? Both Da’awa ……despite they head deferent party names in real term both factions of same party>

    What merits that Ja’afary had Malki not so he promoted to the job of PM?

    يعيب المالكي اليوم على الاكراد انهم شجعوا على هروب طارق الهاشمي من كردستان,وكان من حق الاكراد ان يردوا الحجة على المالكي ويقولوا له:

    الم تكن انت اول من شجع مقتدى الصدر على الهروب الى ايران رغم علمك بمذكرة اعتقاله ؟.

  28. Salah said

    سحب كل صلاحيات الهاشمى وعزله من منصبه خلال أسابيع

    ذكرت مصادر اليوم السبت أن سحب الصلاحيات من نائب الرئيس العراقى طارق الهاشمى أصبحت مسألة وقت وقال مسئول عراقى إن موضوع سحب الصلاحيات من طارق الهاشمى باتت مسألة وقت ليست إلا.. الهاشمى سيكون بلا صلاحيات خلال أسابيع وسيتم عزله قبل محاكمته الشهر المقبل سواء كانت المحاكمة بحضوره أو غيابه.
    ويقوم الهاشمى المطلوب للقضاء العراقى بزيارة للمملكة العربية السعودية فى إطار جولة عربية بدأها بقطر بحسب ما قاله مكتبه.

  29. bb said

    It was Batutu who confirmed my class impressions! Especially the passage relating to the 40s when some shia had become rich landholders/merchants and all of a sudden the sunni overlords saw the value of marrying off their spare daughters to them! But not so much their sons, apparently, Reidar? The sadrist operation in Maysan in 03/04 described by Rory Stewart that was undercutting patricians of ISCI was a classic depiction of Mao’s “fish in the sea”. and “winning the hearts and minds”.

    Loved FaisalKadri’s “Inheritance in rich families does not mean class”: the age old message from the haves to the have-nots throughout the ages, Faisal! You wouldn’t be a sunni by any chance? Class is as much a state of mind, of perception and family tradition as it is anything else these days.

  30. Santana said

    Iraq needs REAL solutions ….. per what Observer indicated above… my opinion picking Jaafari will not solve anything and will actually confirm that Iran still holds all the cards.

    If Jaafari is willing to implement the Erbil agreement and help establish the shared government that Iraq needs then that would be a great start but let’s be real….. Iran won’t allow it….I have said it a million times before on here- whatever is good for Iraq and for the Iraqi people is a redline for Iran.

  31. Observer said

    Are you contending that maliki is not influenced by iran?

    The stipulation that any replacemnt for maliki has to be from INA is an iranian stipulation, not an iraqi one. The reason maliki’s rule is not being tolerated by the others has little to do with iran per se. It has to do with his dictatorial tendencies that in itself is not only a threat to iraqi democracy but alo to irans influence in iraq. If maliki continues to gather strength he (or daawa) will not need iran to stay in power. That is a threat to long term influence of iran in iraqi polics.

    So the choice we have is to put up with the hegemony of daawa or contend with iranian influence. Not an easy choice, but i would rather not experiment with a saddam light era and take my chances on the world clipping the wings of iranian expansionist dreams.

  32. Mohammed said

    Santana/Faisal/Observer and all:

    Santana, regarding your points about how Shiites are treated in Saudi Arabia, we have been down that path before. I believe you when you tell me that the Saudis you met have not complained about Saudi treatment. However, like I told you previously, the overwhelming sentiment reflective of Saudi Shiites that I have met conveys the exact opposite. Perhaps you and I have biased samples based upon the types of Saudis we hang out with. As a tie-breaker,, we must use reputable third party sources, and if you look at the excerpts in my prior post about this topic as well as others from amnesty, human rights watch, the state department, and other news organizations, this is just not even a debatable point. If I practiced medicine the way are debating politics, and told my patients that I am going to offer them treatment X because it happened to work for me on a limited number of patients, and ignored the evidence and research published in reputable journals, I would end up killing patients. In formal debate, you have to provide sources. Unfortunately, you have failed to do that.

    As for arbitrary arrests, see what the state department says about Saudi:
    The Basic Law provides that a person’s actions may not be restricted and a person may not be imprisoned, except under provisions of the law. Nonetheless, because of ambiguous implementation of the law and a lack of due process, the MOI, to which all forces with arrest power report, maintained broad powers to arrest and detain persons indefinitely without judicial oversight or effective access to legal counsel or family. In practice authorities held persons for weeks, months, and (sometimes) for years.
    There were reports of arbitrary arrest and detention. Although the law prohibits detention without charge, authorities detained without charge security suspects, persons who publicly criticized the government, Shia religious leaders, and others who violated religious standards.
    Sharia as interpreted by the government extends these provisions above to all citizens and noncitizens; however, the law and practice discriminate against women (see section 6), nonpracticing Sunni, Shia, and persons of other religions. For example, judges may discount the testimony of nonpracticing Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, or persons of other religions; sources reported that judges sometimes completely ignored testimony by Shia.
    The Shia minority continued to suffer social, legal, economic, and political discrimination.
    In late February and early March 2009, security officers arrested more than 50 Shia citizens, including children, in the Eastern Province for engaging in a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with Shia arrested in the Medina clashes.
    End excerpts…

    If we cannot agree on these reports, then this is a pointless debate. But, if I am going to criticize Maliki for not coming down hard on Assad, then I will expect the same of any just Iraqi politician with respect to what has been going on in Bahrain or Saudi. So when Iraqiya politicians run around with the corrupt Saudi/Qatari/Bahraini kings/emirs, then they have no legitimacy in front of the majority of Iraqis.

    With respect to comparing Maliki vs Saddam, I am not going to even get into that one. It’s not an interesting debate (I think you are way off). But I do give you credit for saying Saddam was evil. My point was that there are many sunnis who do not even consider Saddam to have been evil (including many of my sunni relatives). It is simply a reflection of the sectarian polarization of Iraq. But, using your logic of how Saudi Arabia denies positions to shiites for their purported loyalty to Iran, then Maliki would be justified in making sure no sunnis are in influential military positions since a certain percentage of them may be loyal to the Baath party, or may be bribed by Saudi Arabia to foment a coup. Come on man, you need to have a consistent policy….

    You said: “Why does he (Hashimi) scare Maliki?”
    Why should Mutlak scare Maliki? Why should Allawi scare Maliki? They are all in weaker positions but that is not enough for a dictator. Maliki uses the logic of fear, anybody who uses different logic is a threat. You are assuming Maliki is rational, he is so only in the context of fear.

    My response: With respect to Mutlak, it is not a matter of scare tactics. The point is that the deputy prime minister cannot talk that way about the prime minister. If I was the PM, and the deputy PM talked like that about me (called me worse than Saddam on CNN while I was in DC speaking with the US president), I would call for Mutlak’s removal using any constitutional means I can. If Mutlak wants to talk like that, he is free to, just not while he chooses to serve under that same PM. You can’t have it both ways. With respect to Hashimi, again, you have not offered any explanation. Even Barzani just said that perhaps some of Hashemi’s bodyguards were guilty (but perhaps Hashemi didn’t know about it), and Hashemi said that is a possiblity as well in one of his interviews before. So, if Hashemi finds it plausible that some of his bodyguards were planting bombs and killing people, I don’t think it is a stretch of the imagination for Maliki to think that Hashemi is somehow tied into all of this. However, I do agree that proper judicial protocol was not followed, and that is something to be condemned. Like I said before, I am keeping an open mind about this. But, in practice, I don’t sit around and dismiss every politiican I disagree with as “irrational.” You don’t get to be in the position Maliki, Mutlaq, Hashemi, Allawi are in today by being “irrational.”

    If you and Allawi think that Iraq must be governed as a partnership, I just don’t understand what that term means in practice. As imperfect as the Iraqi constitution is, there are supposed to be checks and balances that need to be followed. Iraq doesn’t need a secretive Arbil agreement (that all the politicians seem to be fearful of even publishing). I agree with you that we need an independent and competent judiciary. We need the parliament to do its job (if you are worried about Maliki building a military that is loyal just to him, the parliament is already given power from the constitution that it should have oversight about appointments of division commanders and generals). If Maliki is not going to follow the constitution, why the heck would he follow some piece of scrap paper that was hastily put together? If by partnership, you mean we should have 2 or 3 co-prime-ministers, then I completely disagree with you. No country is run that way. You have ONE prime minister, and if you don’t like the way he is running things, then the constitution spells out how you vote him out.


  33. Salah said

    In regards to your thinking of Shiites, may I pick your attentions and make some comparison/similarities between Iraqi Shiites & Auzi Aborigines, why they are still in poor conditions refusing schools, modern life despite Austrian successive government tried and spent money to improve their life’s and modernising their life style?

    Let just remind you that most of those clerics’ used Iraqi people especially southern Iraq for their self-necessities, they did not love to see them better educated and smart because that the goal and mission they hold.

    Iraqi central governments tried them facing difficulties with those clerics, on ready claims of targeting their ritual and believes.
    Vali Nasr in one of his speeches with ForeignAffairs about “The Shia Revival. How Conflicts,Within Islam Will Shape the Future”he mentioned
    He meantioned that in one year (2004) Sistani got 3 billions of money so from their and over Sistani/Najaf making or their GPD more that kurds inaddtion of their share from Baghdad. Look to Kurdistan today and to southern Iraq and Najaf?

    Where all the money goes?

    I leave you to read down:
    علينا هنا ان نذكر شيئا مهما وهو ان ما يقوله ستيفان وينتر بخصوص العلاقة الجيدة بين النخب الشيعية اللبنانية وبين السلطة العثمانية يمكن ان نقوله مع حنا بطاطو بخصوص العلاقة الجيدة بين النخب الشيعية في العراق وبين السلطة العثمانية .. وحنا بطاطو يقول ان اغنى الاغنياء في العراق وحتى عام ١٩٥٨ كانوا من الشيعة.. وحنا بطاطو يضيف بعد ان يفكك حجج المظلومية الشيعية : ” كان هناك فقراء سنة كما كان هناك فقراء شيعة وان بغداد كما كل مدن العراق كانت حتى العهد الملكي مدينة تنتمي الى العصور الوسطى والاحياء السنية لا تختلف في درجة الاهمال عن الاحياء الشيعية ” (بطاطو،الطبقات ص. ٤٩ـ ٥٠).

    اذهبوا الان وقولوا للكتاب الشيعة لماذا اعتبرتم ان الفقر والحرمان في العراق المعاصر كان من نصيب الشيعة فقط ؟؟ اذهبوا وقولوا للكتاب الشيعة لماذا اعتبرتم عبد الرحمن النقيب او عبد المحسن السعدون ممثلين للسنة في حين انكم تميزون الان بين شيعة العراق وشيعة السلطة..
    تاريخ الُنخب وذاكرة العبيد ..

    Since 2003, the two cities have cooperated. There is no visible doctrinal rift between their clerics or any exodus of dissidents from one city to the other. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s popular Web site,, is headquartered in Qom, and most of the religious taxes collected by his representatives are kept in Iran. Despite repeated entreaties from dissident voices in Iran, senior clerics in Najaf have kept scrupulously quiet about Iranian politics, deliberately avoiding upsetting the authorities in Qom and Tehran.

    When the Shiites Rise
    By Vali Nasr

    Since 2003, the two cities have cooperated. There is no visible doctrinal rift between their clerics or any exodus of dissidents from one city to the other. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s popular Web site,, is headquartered in Qom, and most of the religious taxes collected by his representatives are kept in Iran. Despite repeated entreaties from dissident voices in Iran, senior clerics in Najaf have kept scrupulously quiet about Iranian politics, deliberately avoiding upsetting the authorities in Qom and Tehran.

    When the Shiites Rise
    By Vali Nasr

    It is not just a hoary religious dispute, a fossilized set piece from early years of Islam’s unfolding, but a contemporary clash of identities. Theological and historical disagreements fuel it, but so do today’s concerns with power, subjugation, freedom, and equality, not to mention regional conflicts and foreign intrigues. It is paradoxically, a very old, very modern conflict. (p. 20)

    Fred Halliday(pdf), writing at the openDemocracy website,‘actual and direct conflict between Sunni and Shi’a – as distinct from suspicion and
    communal difference – has until recently been remarkable by its absence.’

    According to Iztak Nakash, the Shias preponderance in Iraq is a recent phenomenon, caused by social change and tribal conversion around the 19th century, and did not lead to any clear Shia identity politically distinct from the Sunni one until very recently. In Iraq, as elsewhere, ethnic and national belonging played a far greater role than sectarianism. The Shia tribes rose up against the British occupation in 1920 along the Sunnis. Iraqi Shia’s took part in the ‘socialist’ and the Arab nationalist movement, and defended their Iraqi homeland against Iran. Against the sectarian assumption, according to Fred Halliday, writing at the openDemocracy website, ‘actual and direct conflict between Sunni and Shi’a – as distinct from suspicion and communal difference – has until recently been remarkable by its absence.’

  34. Observer said

    Take a look at the israeli model of coalition governance and come back and give me lessons about what is proper and possible in governance. It all goes back to good will and treating partners as partners not as usurpers of power. Maliki and daawa simply have an agenda that does not allow for oer points of view to exist or to be legitimate.
    It is really very simple in the end. Eier you accept that iraq is a mosaic or you do not. When and if iraq gets leaders that are interested in building a state (as opposed to making the state in their own image) the problem will presist. Sucessive iraqi government tried to deal with the kurdish probelm with violence, and we all know where that lead.
    Tyranny of the majority is not going to solve the problem either. You are in the US and should know that democracy is not built on majority rule, rather it is built on the respect of the majority to the rights of the minority.

  35. Observer said

    do you think that maliki could have been put in place or stay in place without th e support of Iran?
    If you are going to come back and try to put the blame on iraqia again, then there is no reason for us to debate and i will give you the title of the “official Maliki apologist” on this bbs 😉

  36. Mohammed said


    If you are going to go through the trouble of giving me a title, at least make it a good one…”Official Maliki Apologist” sounds weak, I suggest “Minister of Propaganda.” 😉

    Joking aside, I am well-versed in the concept of tyranny of the majority. I am certainly against tyranny of the majority, but in the USA, it is not “partnership” that guarantees the rights of the minority. It basically comes down to the U.S. Constitution and judicial system. As a Muslim in America, I really can’t count on having a significant Islamic presence in congress or the executive branch to protect me. It boils down to my constitutional rights of freedom of religion, expression, assembly, voting, etc. The court does a reasonable job, but of course there can still be transgressions.

    With respect to Israel and “partnership” and governance, I don’t believe the analogy applies to Iraq currently. Ehud Barak and Bibi Netenyahu may be from different parties, but with respect to most of the core issues, there really is not much space between them. In fact, many analysts think that Ehud Barak is even more of a hawk with respect to Iran than Bibi. Also, there was more expansion of settlements under Labor governments than there was under Likud. I remember at a talk I attended by Noam Chomsky, he pretty much said with colorful language that Labor takes Palestinian land and smiles and says “thank you,” whereas Likud takes Palestinian land and says “F— You!”

    In Iraq, the divide between the political factions is to great to have a reasonable partnership like Israel. With respect to Iraq, I believe there are enough articles in the Iraqi constitution to protect minorities. The problem is we do not have a competent and independent judiciary. My point is the framework is there in the constitution and is accessible for all Iraqis to read, we don’t need a secret Arbil agreement as guarantor of these rights. We need the parliament and judicial system to keep the executive branch in check. We need laws passed and institutions set up to prevent discrimination. If Santana wants to call Maliki the devil, he should be free to, but not as a member of Maliki’s cabinet.

    I do believe in empowering the governorates and regions with a level of autonomy to make sure that politicians are responsive to local voices. However, when it comes to the armed forces, there should be one commander in chief (prime minister), and there should be parliamentary oversight (as already stipulated in the constitution). Same goes in the USA. When it comes to foreign policy, there should not be 5 different policies (Allawi loving the Saudis and hating the Iranians, and Maliki hating the Saudis and loving the Iranians). It is a formula for chaos, not partnership.

    I believe that the cabinet should be cohesive and not trying to undermine one another, with 1 CEO at the top. If they fail to deliver, then vote them out. If they resort to unconstitutional policies, call for country wide protests and an independent judiciary. For me, rights and partnership boil down to the citizen level, not so much at the politician level. If a sunni citizen from Mosul grows up to become a good lawyer, physician, economist, military officer, then all positions should be available to him as if he was a shiite from Basra. But, if Maliki/Allawi/Any PM doesn’t want to pick him to be his deputy PM, that is up to the PM. If the PM makes poor choices for positions, then he or she should deal with the political repercussions of their policies. So, when people riot this summer due to poor electricity, then that is Maliki’s damn fault for prioritizing corrupt, and incompetent people to carry out his policies. And if the PM picks people that ignore the citizens of Mosul, then those disgruntled citizens can form the base of an opposition block to vote Maliki out. Of course, my assumptions are prefaced on having fair elections. The last elections under Maliki were not perfect, but according to the UN, they were reasonably fair. If we do not have fair elections, then all bets are off, and your only recourse is to protest until government is forced to give in.

    I whole-heartedly agree with you that Da3wa is not following the constitution, but none of the other parties are. You talk about the Kurdish region as a bastion of democracy, but we all know what happened last year when Kurds tried to protest against Barzani and co. It is essentially an emirate run by a few clans and corruption there is rampant, and they had their own civil war in 1996 (when Barzani was allied with Saddam against Talibani and Iran).

    Observer, you stated: “It all goes back to good will and treating partners as partners not as usurpers of power. Maliki and D3awa simply have an agenda that does not allow for other points of view to exist or to be legitimate.”

    I am sorry but that statement is simply not consistent with many major issues that were only solved by having all the parties involved voice their opinions. When it came to the last budget, it could not have been passed without Nujaifi and Iraqiya votes. Certain things that Maliki and SOL wanted were voted down (by various multi-sectarian) coalitions. With respect to de-baathification, I do agree with you that Maliki went overboard there (but that was really started by ISCI (Hakim is buddies with Allawi right?). The oil/gas law was debated and could not be passed to Maliki’s specifications because he lacks the parliamentary support (again, opinions other than his dominated), and has been tabled. With respect to the disputed territories, that is a can of worms that Maliki and Da3wa can never solve without having an agreement between the Sunni Arabs of the north and Kurds.

    With respect to “blaming Iraqiya,” I will not be silenced by you or anybody else with regards to my opinions. Da3wa is part of the problem, and so is Iraqiya. If you want to adopt the “either you are with us, or you are against us” philosophy, that is up to you. Allawi was 100% right when he stated in that interview link you forwarded that all of Iraq’s current politicians have been failures.

    As RV has stated on this forum, Iraqiya has many legitimate grievances against al-Maliki and Da3wa (and I 100% agree with RV on that). However, I take issue with the tactics Iraqiya resorts to in order to address their grievances. Basically, Allawi jets off to Ankara and sends a tweet on Twitter for the umpteenth time: “I have met so and so, and we share similar views on political developments in Iraq and the region.” If you are not on twitter, I urge you to register and just browse through Allawi’s tweets…it is like a broken record. Then you have Hashemi flying off to meet anti-shiite dictators in Saudi/Qatar. Then you have Barzani making all sort of reckless and baseless threats and accusations. What does all this accomplish? Absolutely nothing, except it makes Maliki’s Shiite base even MORE sectarian. RV perfectly demonstrated the absurdity of the Iraqiya strategy that attacks Maliki for being pro-Iran, and then enlists Iran’s ambassador to find a suitable replacement. Da3wa is corrupt and incompetent, but Iraqiya is only adding fuel to the fire. Do you think the average Shiite in Basra who sees Hashemi kissing up to an emir in Qatar or Saudi is going to be more sympathetic to your cause, or will you make him cling on to Maliki even more?

    If Allawi/Iraqiya managed to call for nationwide protests against arbitrary arrests, lack of services, corruption, etc, then I would have far more respect for Iraqiya. If you put 20,000 people out in the streets of in each city of Falluja, Mosul, HIllah, Baghdad, etc, there is nothing Maliki could do to stop that, and the mere threat would make him take you guys more seriously. The GCC and Turkey will not deliver you from the “tyranny of the majority” and neither will Iran. You have to build a grassroots movement that responds to the legitimate grievances of all the Iraqi people irrespective of sect regarding all these aforementioned complaints.

    After all that, if you still want to call me a Maliki apologist, go right ahead my friend…


  37. Mohammed said

    ps Santana:

    Last week you said you would forward a copy of the Arbil agreement to Reidar. So where is it amigo?

  38. Santana said


    I did request it -twice- but no one has sent anything yet…it’s my fault for misplacing the copy I had when they were all in Erbil and the negotiations were hot and heavy …it was sent to me the day before everyone grudgingly accepted the re-instatement of Maliki (which by the way is the only thing in the Erbil agreement that was ever executed). I will keep after them and I KNOW there is one !……. but sorry- so far I have egg on my face. If Iraqiya is not gonna respond on this then I will ask Barzani’s guys to send it to me.

  39. observer said

    funy. I was chuckling as I read your increasingly twisted logic in defense of Maliki and “sharing the blame” with others. Muhammad, you are waste on medicine. You should go to law school.
    you go way into going into the minutia of Israeli party positions on a given issue to try to get out of the basic problem of the inability of Maliki to share power. Muhammad, do not ever assume that others are not smart and can not think for themselves when you make arguments. Did it occur to you that the simplest defense to your “analysis” is to point out that the commitment of Barak and Netineyaho to a strong Israel is unquestioned. That is the common bond for partnership? Or are you going to find other arguments to justify why Maliki is justified in his behavior (or at least shares the blame with the big bad Iraqia.
    I would point out elsewhere where partnership in governance is the norm and not the exception, but my time arguing with you is a waste because you do not change your position even when faced with strong logic. You are committed to the position fo the rule must be for the She3a and that the representatives of the she3a are religious parties.
    You of course have the right to your opinion, but please spare me the effort of trying to read through pages of nuanced arguments because it is pointless.

  40. observer said

    really – you want demonstrations. Are you going to go down to Hurria Square and defend the demonstrators against the police> Are you going to put your democratic principals of defending the rights of others to voice their opinions. Likely not. You will sit in DC and give me theoretical dissertations as to why int he end it is Iraqia’s fault that Maliki is failing.

  41. faisalkadri said

    Speaking about Netayahu and Barak, my recent blog entry talks about the two hawks, I theorize that the US has to choose between arming the SFA now or letting Israel hit Iran and play second fiddle later.

  42. Mohammed said


    Like I said before, I may disagree with some of your views, but I believe you are a straight-shooter, so I believe you saw a version of some copy of something people referred to as the Arbil agreement, but my guess is that the powers that be will not allow you to give Reidar to have a copy of it. Why don’t they just publish the damn thing? What are all these elite politicians hiding. When Barzani was just in DC and was asked in the press about specifics in the Arbil agreement, he didn’t seem to know what he was talking about.


    You can ignore my posts all you like. In the end, your basic argument is I must be some religious zealot and thus, irrational and biased, and whatever I say is wrong/illogical. Brilliant defense of Iraqiya my friend! You are sadly mistaken though. I would be quite happy if Iraq was the 51st state of America. I would like an Iraq where women can were bikinis or hijab as they wish. Of course Da3wa doesn’t want that. I would vote for Dr. Mahmoud Othman to be the PM over Maliki any day. Furthermore, I believe in term limits and I will not vote for Maliki and believe that at the end of this term, he should refuse to run for PM (and that there should be a constitutional amendment to prevent more than two terms).

    Although I generally don’t like to talk about myself (I prefer we discuss policies), I will humor you this one time. I like to think of myself as a religious person, but will leave that for God to judge, but the first rule of religion for me is “La Ikrah Fi Deen,” there is no compulsion in religion—for the non-arab speakers out there. The biggest travesty in all of this is that people like Muqtada al-Sadr (who is not qualified to run a kabob stand much less a country) have far more power to influence millions of more people than you or I do. But you simply need to look at the Iraqi population to realize that this sectarianism problem will take at least a decade or more to fix, and thus Muqtada and his ilk will continue to be a powerful factor for quite some time. Thus, while I would be happy with Dr. Mahmoud Othman as PM, the sectarian shiite street would not.

    You are fixated on “who is to blame?” and frankly, I find that to be an irrelevant question. We have problems in Iraq, and we need realistic solutions. When somebody is having a heart attack, I don’t blame them for smoking or being obese. The event has already happened, the question should be focused on realistic solutions to save the patient. You say you are worried about Da3wa hegemony? Guess what, so am I. I am simply pointing out that Iraqiya tactics thus far to limit Da3wa hegemony have not only failed, but have in fact played directly into Da3wa’s strengths. Hashemi flying off to Saudi Arabia and Qatar to harp against Maliki was a politically dumb move. Every shiite I talked to says: “shoof, hadh al kalb rah lil wahabiya fil khaleej hata yatarsoon junata bil floos”……translation: “Look! that dog went to the gulf wahabis to fill his luggage with money.” Perhaps they are not financing Hashemi, but perception is everything….And yes, it is equally stupid of Maliki to utter words in support of Assad. The only differerence, is Maliki may disgust 30-40% of the country with such words (including me), but Hashemi disgusts 60-65% of the country…guess who comes out on top?

    With respect to calling for protests, then what other solution is there? In the end, if you want a democracy, you must be prepared to have the Iraqi people support you in your struggles. Iraqiya’s solution to ensuring Maliki complies with the constitution is what then? Saudi and GCC ? No outside power will ever be a protector of democracy in Iraq.

    Since I am an irrational religious Neanderthal, go ahead and ignore me. In the grand scheme of things, I am nobody. But, at least pay attention to what RV has to say. I pretty much agree with 99% of his analysis. RV criticized the Arbil agreement (or whatever warped aspects of it have been publicly leaked) as unconstitutional, and this idea of partnership/balance/unity/coalition/do-nothing/over-sized government as unrealistic. He has criticized Allawi’s reliance on outside powers in the mistaken belief that they can change the tide in Iraq. Reidar has suggested that Iraqiya forget about the Arbil agreement, and instead, focus on a quid-pro-quo regarding the security ministries of Defense and Interior. As a starting point for a solution, THAT is a far more realistic solution! But, I guess RV is also a religious Shiite fanatic.


  43. Salah said

    “shoof, hadh al kalb rah lil wahabiya fil khaleej hata yatarsoon junata bil floos”……translation: “Look! that dog went to the gulf wahabis to fill his luggage with money.”

    What about Kurds, Da’awa, Maliki, Jaafary, Ahmad Galabi and all those who brought to Iraq on the US tanks, who did “fill their luggage with money”?

  44. Observer said

    Where did i write all you are claiming that i state anout you and your beliefs. Are you sure you are not projecting? Gimme a break man. What i stated is that t is useless to argue with you becuase you go out of your away every time to bring iraqia into the argument and why they are to blame or share the blame for what maliki is doing. Look over your repnses. Not a single post goes without bringin hashimi siad this and mutleg said that… Give it a brak man and admit it to youself. You are biased for daaawa but want to be treated as meutral when you are not. Is that a reason to go on a rant?

    Your daawa does not believe inartnership. They are the other side of the coin of the baath ideology. Really it os that simple.

  45. Mohammed said


    You got me pegged! I believe in women having freedom to wear bikinis, total separation of religion and state, and I would be happy to vote for Dr. Mahmoud Othman as prime minister, but I dislike Saleh Mutlaq and Hashemi’s politics. And I despise Iran’s mullahs and Saudi fanatic wahabis and gulf dictators. Somehow in your political dictionary, that equates with being a Da3wa guy!

    Does the concept of “independent political views” mean anything to you? Just listen to yourself. How are you different than those people who go on anti-Baath witch hunts and accuse sunnis of being Baath sympathizers any time they dare to criticize Maliki or Da3wa? Let me help you out…I don’t believe in membership to political parties. And God willing, I will NEVER join one. We are individuals and can have nuanced views. I have spent a lifetime getting an education, and meeting and interacting with people from wahabis to die-hard Iranian right-wingers in graduate school, to senior government advisors of GCC countries— I don’t need to belong to a political party to tell me what views to have, or make me feel important.

    You don’t need to respond to this or any of my posts in the future. I urge you to think about policies instead of personalities. You don’t even know me, but pretend to have me figured out. Whether I am neutral or not is irrelevant. This is not about converting you or me to an allegiance to a certain party or personality. This forum is for debating the merits of policies and ramifications of interesting political events. If you believe in the policies of Iraqiya, then you should be able to defend them. Your psychoanalysis of my “Da3wa-in-the-closet-insecurities”— while entertaining—is a poor excuse for a defense. What really worries me is that if somebody like you (insightful, smart, articulate, passionate, probably top 1% of Iraqi intellectuals) behaves this way towards me, I really worry about what kind of dialogue you and others of much lesser abilities are able to muster with hard-core Da3wa true-believers who have the reigns of power. They certainly will not be as accommodating as I am. But, like it or not, you have to deal with them. You make peace with your enemies, not your friends….Perhaps this is what RV was ridiculing when he pointed out how Iraqiya is willing to talk with the Iranian ambassador instead of Maliki?


  46. Reidar Visser said

    OK I’m closing this thread since we have moved rather far from the original subject. Maybe I should have done so earlier. I find the attempts to label Mohammed as an uncritical Daawa/Maliki supporter to be particularly unjustified. In general, it should be permissible to credit Maliki for some of the things he is doing well, especially regarding state structure, as long as one is also attentive to many of the problems in his premiership, including the rule of law, corruption and various authoritarian tendencies.

    Meanwhile exciting news about Izzat al-Duri having worn a Yemeni uniform during his latest video is emerging. Feel free to discuss this and related subjects in the newest post!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: