Saturday, May 19, 2007

Fascinating Piece on Shifting Iraqi Political Reality

The original piece is from al-Hayat but unfortunately is only in Arabic. So I'm relying on a summary on IraqSlogger (scroll down about halfway down) from Amer Moshen.

It begins with the current realization of the Iraqi Political class:
“Iraqi political blocs are on their way to acknowledging the failure of the post-invasion political experiment, which was characterized by power-sharing formulas along sectarian and ethnic lines. (This acknowledgment) comes in tandem with the American recognition of the comprehensive failure of the project that led to the war, and the arrangements made after the fall of Saddam.”
In other words the Iraqi politicians themselves realize that the elections, the Parliament, the Constitution that the US pushed through (after being pushed by Sistani) has failed and lead to political gridlock. The elections fostered sectarian division. Democracy without rule of law is mob rule by the ballot. In this case sectarian mob rule.

How have the Iraqi politicians responded?:
'Abbas argued that Iraqi parties (Sunni, Shi'a, and Kurdish) are going through a process of radical transformation, whereby large sectarian coalitions are increasingly fragmented, while individual parties try to position themselves as “Iraqi nationalist” movements, instead of contenting to represent their respective sects.
The first to realize this new reality was of course Moqtada al Sadr. He's constant in/out dance with the government is part of this reality. The Fadhila (Shia) Party has withdrawn its support for the Maliki government (UIA, Shia umbrella coalition). Maliki's government could easily this summer face a vote of no confidence. Also looming is the possibility of the Iraqi Parliament voting to demand the departure of US troops. Sadr is also behind this political gambit only increasing his "nationalist" cred.

I reported on the name change of the artists formerly known as the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) to Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) and how the group has taken Sistani as its leader and not Iran. Also part of this "Iraqization" process.

What all this points to is these groups realize the Americans are on the way out. The Shia Coalition is fracturing as well as intra-Sunni fighting. Basra which the US public has been told for years is a safe non-sectarian city "held" by the British has never been. Basra is run by Shia militias and experiences intra-Shia fighting constantly. The British deciding not to send Harry Windsor there is proof of this reality. [And interestingly, as reported by Abbas, there are increasing calls for separation of mosque/state in Shia cities, limiting the power of clerics].

Sunni violence is on the rise against Kurds. Kirkuk is a flashpoint Sunni-Kurds and Turkomen (and Turkey)-Kurd.

It is not entirely clear where this is all headed and Abbas concludes (again according to Moshen):
However, 'Abbas adds towards the end of his analysis that we should not be overly optimistic regarding an “end of the rule of the ‘kings of sects’ in Iraq,” especially that the sectarian arrangement received -- and still benefits from -- the blessings of the US and the “regional powers.” While the limitations of sectarian politics are painfully obvious, 'Abbas affirmed, non-sectarian movements (whether in the form of the “liberal” Iyad 'Allawi, or the “born again” Muqtada) “are lacking clear ideological foundations, and suffer incompatibilities between their demands and their objectives.”
tags technorati :
tags technorati :


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