FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Iraq Rocked by Court Verdict

by PATRICK COCKBURN

Arbil

An Iraqi court has disqualified two members of the country’s newly elected parliament in a move which puts in doubt the outcome of last month’s election and is likely to increase political instability in the country.

The winning candidates who have been barred are among 52 candidates disqualified for past association with Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party.The ban on them appears to be part of a campaign by the government of Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, to change in his favor the unexpected results of the election, which saw his State of Law bloc narrowly beaten by Iyad Allawi’s al-Iraqiya coalition.

Yesterday, Allawi said that his party had instructed lawyers to appeal the decision, saying: “We are very concerned about certain groups controlling the political process in Iraq.”

Maliki has successfully demanded a recount of votes in Baghdad which his supporters hope might yield him an extra four seats.

In the 7 March poll  Allawi won 91 seats to  Maliki’s 89, giving  Allawi the right to have the first opportunity to form a government.

Fraud is much more likely to take place during the recount than it was during the closely monitored election, according to senior Iraqi political leaders who did not want to be named. They say that the Sunni Arabs who voted overwhelmingly for  Allawi and the followers of the anti-American cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr – who also did well – are not going to accept the election being stolen by  Maliki.

The special court reviewing election complaints is now likely to receive demands for recounts of the poll in other parts of Iraq, which will long delay final results in the election. The Kurds are likely to demand a recount in the two northern provinces of Nineveh and Kirkuk, where territory is in dispute between Arabs and Kurds.

Some fraud probably did take place in the election because of the lack of a census and unrecorded population movements. Each coalition manipulated its share of the vote upwards in areas where it was strong.

But  Maliki and his followers were nevertheless surprised by the strong showing by their opponents, whose popularity they had underestimated. Given that  Maliki is in charge of the government machinery, only he was in a position to falsify the outcome of the poll, something he now appears intent on doing retroactively.

The US is pushing  Maliki and  Allawi to form a coalition government, allowing each man to serve two years as prime minister, or half of the four-year term. This solution has been adopted with success by the two leading parties in Kurdistan.

But a coalition of the two main parties is unlikely to work in the rest of Iraq because  Maliki’s voters were overwhelmingly Shia and  Allawi’s, though he himself is Shia, are mostly Sunni. It would also be hard to try to marginalize the Kurds and the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), the other Shia bloc primarily made up of religious parties. Neither the Kurds nor the powerful Sadrist movement, which dominates the INA, wants to see Maliki remain prime minister, though it is not clear who would replace him.

Aside from the US, Iran has had a series of meetings with Iraqi political leaders and would like to see its Shia co-religionists retain power.

Backed by money from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, Turkey helped  Allawi during the election and his control of the purse strings is one factor holding his disparate coalition together.

PATRICK COCKBURN is the Ihe author of “Muqtada: Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq.”

 

WORDS THAT STICK

More articles by:

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

Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
Murray Dobbin
Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?
Jeiddy Martínez Armas
Firearm Democracy
Jill Richardson
Washington’s War on Poor Grad Students
Ralph Nader
The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law
Justin O'Hagan
Capitalism Equals Peace?
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: From the Red Sea to Nairobi
Geoff Dutton
The Company We Sadly Keep
Evan Jones
The Censorship of Jacques Sapir, French Dissident
Linn Washington Jr.
Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform
Gerry Brown
TPP, Indo Pacific, QUAD: What’s Next to Contain China’s Rise?
Robert Fisk
The Exile of Saad Hariri
Romana Rubeo - Ramzy Baroud
Anti-BDS Laws and Pro-Israeli Parliament: Zionist Hasbara is Winning in Italy
Robert J. Burrowes
Why are Police in the USA so Terrified?
Chuck Collins
Stop Talking About ‘Winners and Losers’ From Corporate Tax Cuts
Ron Jacobs
Private Property Does Not Equal Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Mass Shootings, Male Toxicity and their Roots in Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
The Fordist Academic
Frank Scott
Weapons of Mass Distraction Get More Destructive
Missy Comley Beattie
Big Dick Diplomacy
Michael Doliner
Democracy, Real Life Acting and the Movies
Dan Bacher
Jerry Brown tells indigenous protesters in Bonn, ‘Let’s put you in the ground’
Winslow Myers
The Madness of Deterrence
Cesar Chelala
A Kiss is Not a Kiss: Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children
Jimmy Centeno
Garcia Meets Guayasamin: A De-Colonial Experience
Stephen Martin
When Boot Becomes Bot: Surplus Population and The Human Face.
Martin Billheimer
Homer’s Iliad, la primera nota roja
Louis Proyect
Once There Were Strong Men
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones
David Yearsley
Academics Take Flight
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail