Friday, December 24, 2010

Were The Sadrists Promised Southern Governorships In Return For Supporting Maliki?

Did Maliki offer the Sadrisrts Maysan, Babil, Qadisiyah, and Dhi Qar in return for staying in power? (Univ. of Texas)

It’s been reported that part of the deal cut between the Sadrists and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to assure him of a second term was that the latter would receive control of one to four southern governorships. In November 2010 for example, there were stories that the Sadrists were offered the top posts in Maysan, Babil, Qadisiyah, and Dhi Qar

That didn’t sit well with some of the current officeholders. The State of Law governor of Maysan for one, Muhammad al-Sudani, rejected any deal cut between the premier and the Sadrists for his position. Sudani however, was recently appointed the new Minister of Human Rights on December 21, which could provide a means for the Sadr Trend to assume power there. They currently hold seven seats out of 27 on the provincial council.

Another issue is that governors are to be appointed by the local government, not Baghdad. That didn’t stop Maliki from inserting himself into the controversy over replacing the governor in Salahaddin. There, the provincial council decided to dismiss the new governor in September 2009 over fraud charges, five months after he took office. The premier however, decided that he was going to name his replacement, and sent troops to the provincial headquarters until the local politicians gave in to his will. It took seven months to resolve the dispute with a compromise between the two sides

The events in Salahaddin show that with weak institutions, those with power can manipulate the system in Iraq. That doesn’t bode well if the rumors of a Sadrist-Maliki deal for southern governors is true. The premier could try to push through his choices in those provinces, all of which are controlled by State of Law coalitions. On the other hand, he could renege on his promises as he’s done with others in the past. Either way it is a story that needs to be followed in the coming days.

SOURCES

Associated Press, “Sadrists expect big role in new Iraq government,” 12/1/10

Healy, Jack, “Cleric’s Anti-U.S. Forces Poised for Gains in Iraq,” New York Times, 12/19/10

Sowell, Kirk, “Politics, Political Risk & Political Economy,” Inside Iraqi Politics, 11/22/10

Visser, Reidar, “Nujayfi, Talabani and Maliki – Plus Lots of Hot Air,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 11/11/10
- “Parliament Approves the Second Maliki Government,” Historiae, 12/21/10

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