Friday, May 11, 2012

A lot of whispers about potential Nouri replacements

In Iraq, the political crisis has become as consistent as the violence and both are now a part of daily life.  Alsumaria reports that Moqtada al-Sadr declared yesterday that the Parliament should be dissolved and early elections held to address the crisis and that Nouri was asserting himself as a dictator.  Earlier (May 6th), MP Hassan Sinead of Nouri's State of Law had also declared the Parliament should be dissolved and new elections held.  Al Mada adds that Iraqiya's Adnan al-Janabi has also declared that early elections should be held. 

Meanwhile Alsumaria reprorts Iraqi President Jalal Talabani met with the leader of the National Alliance, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, today and issued a statement saying that they identified problems and discussed appropriate solutions that could strenghten all parties and exclude any of the participants.   The article notes that Iraq has seen the crisis grow from a split between State of Law on one side and Iraqiya, the Kurds and Moqtada's bloc on the other and now involves all the players.  Ibrahim al-Jaafari was discussed as a potential replacement for Nouri at the April 28th Erbil meet-up attended by Talabani, Moqtada, Ayad Allawi, KRG President Massoud Barzani and Speaker of Parlaiment Osama al-Nujaifi. Dar Addustour notes that an unnamed member of the National Alliance is denying that they are supporting Adel Abdul-Mahdi to be the next prime minister -- or that he or Baqir al-Jibrazubayda have the backing of Turkey or the US.  Adel Abdul-Mahdi has long
wanted to be prime minister and came close many times. He is a member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.  He was one of Iraq's two vice presidents during Nouri al-Maliki's first term -- Tareq al-Hashemi was the other.  He and al-Hashemi were named vice presidents for a second term in November 2010.  Later a third vice president was named.  Iraq dropped back down to two vice presidents after the national protests and Nouri's promise to meet the demands and to address corruption in 100 days.  When Nouri failed to do so, Adel Abudl-Mahdi announced he was resigning and cited the government's inability to address the needs of the people or the corruption.

Since December 21st, Talabani and al-Nujaifi have been calling for a national conference to resolve the political crisis.  Alsmuria reports the two men met today and discussed the latest developments in the political crisis "the country has witnessed for a long time."  Nouri al-Maliki stalled on the national conference in January and February, throwing one road block up after another such as who would attend, who wouldn't, what it would be called, etc.  In March, Nouri began stating that it couldn't be held that month because of the Arab League Summit at the end of March.  Talabani declared that the national conference would be held April 5th and then Nouri began echoing that; however, April 4th it was announced that the conference was being called off.

Marwan Kabalan (Gulf News) offers this take on the political crisis:

Al Maliki may have strong political ambitions of his own, but his actions clearly align with Iran's strategic interest in consolidating Shiite control in Iraq. With Iran emerging as the most influential foreign power in Iraqi politics, Sunni Arab countries, particularly in the Gulf, fear that Iran might just be about to reshape the political map of the region in its favour. This will force them to do whatever it takes to prevent this probability. Al Maliki's sectarian policies along with the increasing polarisation between the two banks of the Gulf — Arab and Persian — Iraq might very well slide back to a full-fledged civil war that would be incomparable with the 2006-2007conflict.

Al Mada quotes Kuristan Alliance MP Shawn Mohammed Taha stating that those who disagree with Nouri will quickly discover that there are charges against them and that Nouri intends to take out political rivals by having them arrested.

On the ongoing violence, Alsumaria notes a Baghdad armed attack in which two security forces were injured and a Mosul home invasion killed the son of a local council member with some saying the armed assailants included the dead man's older brother -- also in Nineveh a 1 guard was shot dead
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