Friday, February 12, 2010

Maliki Steps Into Middle of Governor Dismissal In Salahaddin

Some new details have emerged as to why Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki decided to have the Iraqi Army take over the local government of Salahaddin province in January 2010. Back on September 9, 2009, the provincial council there dismissed the governor, Mutashar Hussein Alawi, for negligence. He refused to step down, and not only appealed his case to the Federal Supreme Court, but sued the head of the council for having a criminal record and faking his school records. The council chief was dismissed by parliament on October 11, but the crisis with the governor continued. The Prime Minister at first said he would not support the removal of Alawi, but when the Federal Court sided with the council, Maliki demanded that he leave office. The provincial council went ahead and elected a new governor, Ahmed Abdul Jabbar Abdul Karim, but Alawi tried to hang on. That prompted the Prime Minister to send in the troops on January 20, 2010. The twist is that the Iraqi Army unit that controls the provincial building has kept everyone out, even the local council. Apparently Maliki wants to name the new governor, and does not want Karim in office either. The U.S. army unit in Salahaddin, along with the Provincial Reconstruction Team there are both supporting the council, and telling them that they have the law on their side, but the Prime Minister has not budged. This is now a three-way test of wills between Maliki, Alawi, and the provincial council over who will control Salahaddin.

SOURCES

Aswat al-Iraq, “Demonstration in Salah el-Din against dismissal of governor,” 9/9/09
- “Parliament dismisses local official in Salah al-Din,” 10/11/09

Myers, Steven Lee and Shadid, Anthony, “Leader Faulted on Using Army in Iraqi Politics,” New York times, 2/11/10

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