Sunday, July 11, 2010

Iraqi National Movement Claims Breakthrough In Forming New Government, But Maliki Still Main Barrier

Members of Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement have recently voiced optimism that they have made a breakthrough in forming a new Iraqi government. First, on July 8, 2010 Allawi met with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani, and said that they had agreed upon a national unity coalition. The next day, Allawi claimed that a new government would be completed by August, and that the next prime minister, president, and speaker of parliament would be decided by the end of July. According to the constitution, a speaker and two deputies are supposed to be elected by the new parliament, and then a president who will select the leader of the largest list to put together a government. On July 10, a member of the National Movement told the Iraqi press that they were willing to give away major ministries in return for Allawi to become the next premier. That same day, another National Movement official claimed that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law had finally begun to realize that they would not be the ones to put together a new government. He went on to say that State of Law had recently become more flexible in talks as a result, and that the Kurdish Alliance and the National Alliance had all agreed to a national unity regime. Finally, Asharq al-Awsat reported that Maliki had conceded to an Allawi premiership.

As with previous negotiations over a new government, everything centers around the position of State of Law. As soon as it appeared that the National Movement would win the most seats in the March election, State of Law began protesting about fraud and demanded a recount. It then forged a coalition with the Iraqi National Alliance, and claimed that it was the largest bloc, not Allawi’s list. Those talks went nowhere as both the Sadrists and Supreme Council opposed Maliki returning to power. On July 6, Maliki’s spokesman Ali Dabbagh admitted that the merger with the National Alliance had stalled as a result. Since then State of Law have turned to talks with Allawi. Again, whether that will lead to a ruling coalition all depends upon whether Maliki is willing to step aside and let someone else become premier. If not, then the new round of discussions will go nowhere just as talks between State of Law and the National Alliance did. It’s only when Maliki realizes that his days are numbered that there will be real progress in Iraqi politics.


Alsumaria, “Allawi-Barazani agree on national unity government,” 7/8/10
- “Iraqiya willing to cede government positions for Premiership,” 7/10/10
- “State of Law-National Alliance talks halted,” 7/6/10

Aswat al-Iraq, “Allawi says govt. likely to be formed in August,” 7/9/10
- “Dawlat al-Qanoon acquiesces to the inevitable – source,” 7/10/10

Beirut, Nasir Ali, “Maliki: There is no harm in taking Allawi as prime minister,” Asharq al-Awsat, 7/9/10

Carpenter, J. Scott and Ali, Ahmed, “After Iraq’s Elections: A New Government by September?” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 3/3/10

Chulov, Martin, “Iraqi elections hit with claims of fraud by opposing parties,” Guardian, 3/16/10

England, Andrew, “Iraqi Shia groups form alliance,” Financial Times, 5/5/10


AndrewSshi said...

In your opinion, Joel, who do you think is more likely to blink in this thing? I mean, I can't see any reason the Sadrists would agree to Maliki, since it's only been a couple of years since, you know, he sent in the tanks to Basra. But then, I can't really see Allawi or other Iraqiya partners letting up either.

Do you have any thoughts on the likelihood of Allawi and Maliki being willing to reach some sort of a compromise with one getting the premiership and the other the presidency?

Joel Wing said...

Andrew I think it's all up to Maliki. Until he realizes he can't stay in power he will drag out the talks with everyone. He can do so because he's already prime minister so months of endless negotiations doesn't hurt him. He's starting to see the handwriting on the wall as he's abandoned the coalition with the National Alliance for now. How long he will go with Allawi is unknown. Maybe he really has given up and Allawi is right that there will be a government by August. In the end though I think Maliki is out of even a top position like speaker. I think it's the premiership or nohing for him, just as it is for Allawi.

Jason said...

If Maliki steps down and a Sadrist/ISCI/Iran pliant candidate becomes PM in his place, then all progress in Iraq will go into reverse!

Joel Wing said...

Jason, even if Maliki is pushed aside the Iraqi National Alliance wont be closer to putting a government together. The Sadrists and Supreme Council cant decide who they want to be PM either. The Sadrists are holding up Ibrahim Jaafari and the SIIC VP Mahdi. That's another whole argument that would need to be resolved.

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