Two newspapers Al-Sharq al-Awsat and Al-Zaman have reported that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the United States have a cut deal over forming a new Iraqi government. The two media sources said that Maliki had promised the Americans to exclude the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) and the Sadrists, the two leaders of the Iraqi National Alliance, from the next government in return for U.S. support for his candidacy to return as premier. This seems like a natural arrangement for the two sides. The National Alliance, while agreeing to a merger with Maliki’s State of Law, has been the most adamant opponent of Maliki’s return to power. Washington on the other hand, wants to limit Iran’s influence over the new Iraqi regime, and considers the Supreme Council and the Sadrists Tehran’s closest allies.
The problem is that if this agreement is true, it in no way moves the political process forward. The other major political list, the Iraqi National Movement wants its leader, Iyad Allawi to be prime minister, not Maliki. The Kurdish Alliance is waiting on the sidelines, willing to support any candidate that agrees to their demands over Kirkuk, oil exports, funding the peshmerga, and a number of other issues. The U.S. Ambassador, embassy staff, and visiting dignitaries such as Vice President Joe Biden have continuously consulted with Iraqi politicians, but have not been able to achieve any breakthroughs either. Maliki and Washington can agree upon whom they don’t like, but that doesn’t help with the deadlock in Baghdad.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Al-Zaman, “Al-Maliki Promises U.S. He’ll End Iranian Presence In Iraq,” MEMRI Blog, 8/31/10
MEMRI Staff, “Iraq: No Light at End of Tunnel,” MEMRI Staff, 8/23/10