April 21, 2006

Maliki On the March - Maybe

Hatched by Dafydd

According to the BBC, the UIA has chosen Jawad al-Maliki, the deputy leader of the Islamic Dawa party, as its new nominee for prime minister of Iraq:

Mr Maliki, a close ally of Mr Jaafari, recently headed a committee which purged members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party from public life, raising fears his nomination might be rejected by Sunni factions.

He has been acting as spokesman both for the Daawa party and for the broader coalition of seven Shia factions which make up the strongest parliamentary bloc and, therefore, has the right to nominate the premier...

He has been in charge of the Daawa party's internal political organisation and has taken an active part in helping formulate the four agreements which Iraqi politicians have already reached on the platform and other structures to underpin a new national unity government.

I think the BBC is being disingenuous here. While it's true that Maliki might be rejected (see below), it wouldn't be because he "recently headed a committee which purged members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party." That's a snide and churlish suggestion, implying that all Sunni were big fans of Saddam and wish the Baathists were back... and quite typical of the British "yellow journalists," who are, if anything, even more desperate to see a real civil war in Iraq than their American counterparts -- as well as perhaps just a bit too cozy with Iran themselves.

Great that Jaafari is gone; but I'm a little concerned about that "close ally of Mr Jaafari" jazz. Does this mean that Maliki is also a close ally of Muqtada Sadr? Did Jaafari get permission from the master to throw in the towel because he knew the fix was in for another Sadr sock puppet to rule?

The best indicator will be the response of the Kurds and the Sunni. They certainly know better than any of us whether an Iraqi politician is controlled by Sadr -- or directly by Sadr's own bosses in Teheran.

Iraq the Model is skeptical:

However, the question remains that; will the real problem be solved by this agreement on the top posts?

I guess not because if any of the two new candidates gets to be the new PM, Iraq will–in my opinion-continue to descend for the next four years in the same way it's been doing since the interim government was installed last year. And after all, the UIA's decision to replace Jafari with al-Adeeb or al-Maliki is a solution designed for preserving the brittle unity of the UIA and not for the creation of a unity government because they know very well that the rest of blocs were hoping to see Abdul Mahdi replace Jafari and maybe the UIA is twisting arms with this new nomination and betting on splitting the lines of the anti-Jafari mass thinking those would not be willing to prolong the deadlock by refusing the new candidates.

Will we see a surprise in tomorrow's session? Will the deadlock remain? Could it be that the Kurds, Sunni and secular blocs are just trying to trick the UIA into approving a presidency council and get the dispute to the parliament to overthrow the UIA's candidate(s) and force their own candidate?

This is what we'll find out tomorrow.

Let's assume Omar is right; how would this work? The National Assembly might vote on all the other positions first, stocking the government except for the prime minister.

If they then reject Jawad al-Maliki, the nominee of the plurality party (the UIA), it's my understanding that other parties are then free to nominate their own candidates. Suppose the Sunni, the Kurds, and the secular Shiite parties were all to nominate the same guy -- Adel Abdul Mahdi of the SCIRI? Even though the SCIRI is a part of the UIA, and Abdul Mahdi was not the UIA nominee... they may decide to vote for their own party member anyway, reasoning that Maliki had his shot and was rejected; he wouldn't be elected in any case.

If the SCIRI joined the Kurds, Sunni, and seculars, that would probably be enough to elect Abdul Mahdi over the objections of the Islamic Dawa Party. But since he is still Shia, presumably he should still get strong support as the elected prime minister from Dawa and the other parties in the UIA. He could be a true "unity leader."

Best of all, Abdul Mahdi is well known as about the bitterest opponent of Sadr and Iran among the well-known Shiite politicians.

As Omar says, we should have a good idea what's happening tomorrow.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 21, 2006, at the time of 4:17 PM

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