FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Shia and Kurds Will Dominate New Iraqi Government

Baghdad.

Negotiations between the successful parties in the Iraqi election will start shortly and are likely to produce a national unity government dominated by the Shia and the Kurds, according to Hoshyar Zebari, the Foreign Minister.

In a jubilant mood in the wake of the elections, having vigorously opposed their postponement, Mr Zebari said: “We must not squander this wonderful historic victory. If we do not get it right, the consequences will be devastating.”

Though he did not say explicitly that the interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, was bound to lose his job, Mr Zebari believes the number of candidates for the post of prime minister in the new government has narrowed to two.

Those are Ibrahim Jaafari of Dawa, the Shia party, who is currently vice-president, and Adel Abdul Mehdi, the Finance Minister, of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Mr Zebari said that his own calculation of the outcome of the election, made before the polls opened, is for the United Iraqi Alliance, the Shia coalition, to win 130 to 140 seats in the 275 -member National Assembly.

“I think the Kurdish Alliance will get 75 to 85 and Allawi some 50 to 60 seats.” He was doubtful about how long the Shia coalition, formed under the auspices of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, would hold together. “It is an electoral pact, not a party,” Mr Zebari added.

“Already they are squabbling about who will be prime minister and which positions they should take.”

The Kurdish leaders have already agreed what jobs they want. Jalal al-Talabani is their candidate for the presidency. Mr Zebari said that all the senior jobs in the new government would have to be agreed “as part of a single package”.

To conciliate the Sunni Arabs, who are at the heart of the insurgency and largely boycotted the poll, he said they needed to be given one of the top three jobs: president, prime minister or speaker of the national assembly.

The Sunnis should play a role in formulating the constitution. He added there should be a big conference, “a national dialogue between all components of Iraqi society.” That would take place either before or after the constitution had been drafted but, in any case, before a referendum is held to ratify it.

There are signs that the secular Kurds are worried by the runaway victory of the Shia religious parties. They are concerned also by the growth of Iranian influence through the Shia parties. “Our nightmare was that somebody might win two-thirds of the vote,” said Mr Zebari. For a new government to be formed, a two-thirds majority in the assembly is needed.

Sounding regretful about the probable departure of Mr Allawi, Mr Zebari said: “Allawi has done everything he could. He had too short a time to correct the mess he was left with.”

But he thinks that, after the election, Iraq has a chance “to go back to May 2003,” the month after the fall of Saddam Hussein and do all the things that should have been done then.

The lack of security was underlined again yesterday when suicide bombers attacked police in Mosul and Baquba, killing 27 and injuring 20 others. Another died in a mortar attack on a Mosul police station.

* An Italian journalist who is being held hostage in Iraq will be released in the next few days, according to a website. Giuliana Sgrena has been “cleared of spying” by her captors, the Jihad Organisation.

 

More articles by:

Patrick Cockburn is the author of  The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail