Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Baghdad Bombings Set Off Political Bickering Amongst Iraqi Elites

The December 8, 2009 bombings have led to a wave of accusations amongst Iraqi politicians. First members of parliament demanded that the Interior, Defense, and National Security ministers, the head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, the chief of the Baghdad Operations Command, along with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appear before them for questioning over the lapses in security that have led to the attacks. Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani said he would do so as long as the hearings were in public, while members of the Dawa Party said that the Prime Minister would never be questioned by the legislature because that would only serve his detractors who want to attack him.

Maliki also dismissed the Baghdad Security Chief General Abboud Qanbar, who is a close ally of the Prime Minister. At the same time, Maliki is calling for the resignation of Interior Minister Bolani for the bombings. A Dawa parliamentarian said that Bolani is responsible for the attacks, and that he had filled the Interior Ministry with members of his Constitution party, which prevented him from firing incompetent people. Bolani countered by saying that Maliki is at fault since the Baghdad Operations Command answers directly to his office, not the Interior or Defense ministries. Bolani also implied that some of Iraq’s political parties were involved in yesterday’s incident.

The 2010 parliamentary elections loom in the background of these charges. Maliki and Bolani are rivals, and head separate political list that are competing against each other. Maliki and his Dawa Party are in the lead of the State of Law coalition, while Bolani’s Constitution Party is part of the Unity of Iraq Alliance that also includes Sheikh Ahmad Abu Risha of the Anbar Awakening Conference, the head of the Sunni Endowment Ahmed Abed al-Ghafur al-Samarraie, and the former speaker of parliament Mahmoud Mashhadani of the National Independent Trend. One of Maliki’s main campaign points is that he has brought security to Iraq. The August, October, and December bombings have severely tarnished his image. In response, the Prime Minister has focused upon blaming others, at first Baathists in Syria for the attacks, and now Minister Bolani to defer responsibility. The Iraqi public doesn’t seem to care about the political attacks, and are increasingly blaming the entire government for failing at their job to protect the people.

SOURCES

AK News, “Parliament will question Premier as well over bombings,” 12/9/09

Ali, Ahmed, “Iraq’s Elections Challenge: A Shifting Political Landscape,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 11/20/09

Alsumaria, “Iraq Interior Minister set for accountability,” 12/9/09
- “MP blames blasts on Iraq Interior Ministry,” 12/9/09

Roads To Iraq, “Current situation and the three options,” 11/19/09
- “Al-Sadr’s election campaign, questioning Maliki is the next political crisis,” 12/9/09

RTT News, “Chief Of Iraqi Security Forces In Baghdad Replaced After Deadly Bomb Attacks,” 12/9/09

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