Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Baghdad for Kirkuk.

I think most of you have seen the disturbing results of the elections after the commission completed counting 90% of the votes. I think the announcement was due to pressures on the commission which also chose to show the results of the Sunni provinces apparently to calm the Accord Front down a bit as the Front achieved good results in those provinces.

Today we heard that a delegation of Hachim al-Hasani (chairman of the National Assembly), Mowafaq al-Rubai’i (national security advisor) and Barham Salih (planning minister, a Kurd) went to the Accord Front to talk to them and convince them to abandon their threatening attitude and to invite them to be part of the new government.

The situation is till tense but the new thing which is not unexpected is that the Kurdish parties finally got what they’d been dreaming of and won 51% of the seats in Kirkuk after they added 200,000 new voters to the registration database just a few days before the election day.
In my opinion we’ve just witnessed a Baghdad-for-Kirkuk deal being made and the Kurds were smart when they delayed the results of Kirkuk for another day. Because of the timing, Kirkuk didn’t get much attention here since the dispute over Baghdad is getting all the attention and dwarfing the relatively smaller issue of Kirkuk.

Today I recalled what Barzani told al-Sharq al-Awsat paper two months ago; he said “we will have no choice but to separate from Iraq if a civil war erupted in the middle and south of the country” at that time I thought it was strange from Barzani to say such things while Iraq was about to make more positive steps represented by the participation of the Sunni which was supposed to contribute to Iraq’s stability. So why did Barzani warn from a civil war when last time’s boycotters were changing their minds to join the political process?

I’m afraid the Baghdad-for-Kirkuk deal is done now and there’s nothing I can think of to reverse the new reality which was forced via a democratic practice.
Right now we’re in facing a big crisis that leaves us before two possibilities; either the Sunni agree to be part of the government and we get a parliament with 200 Islamist members (Sunni and She’at) in the face of 75 secular members, 50 of them are Kurds who won’t care much about this parliament or the rest of the country since they have their own parliament and government in Kurdistan (which is going to include Kirkuk in the near future of course).

Those 200 Islamists will just have to diminish the 25 liberal members and that’s not going to be difficult at all in four years, I mean one year was enough for the Islamists to burn offices, assassinate and intimidate the liberals and seculars.

The second possibility isn’t brighter than the first, probably the rival parties will enter another conflict in which words will not be the only weapon, we will also hear the democracy of mortars and RPGs speak loudly.

And of course the "elected" government will soon ask the “occupiers” nicely-and maybe violently-to leave Iraq as their mission is over and the government is now capable of controlling the people without needing intelligence, air or armor support from the “occupiers” the new government will be able to exterminate and punish all sorts of outlaws.

We did not expect the secular parties to win the election and we said at many previous occasions that Islamists are still stronger; we even expected that the new PM will be Aadil Abdulmahdi from the SCIRI:
we can see that the United Iraqi Alliance still has luck, and to some extent votes, on its side. The Alliance will again be the largest bloc in the parliament, with between 70 and 90 seats. This will grant them the right to have the future Prime Minister selected from amongst their members.

I think the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution (SCIRI), one of the two main Shiite political parties, will not give the PM post to the Dawa Party or the Sadrists. I expect the new Prime Minister to be a SCIRI member. The hot candidate here is Aadil Abdulmahdi, the current deputy PM.

And we said that the secular parties’ role will be limited to balancing the influence of the Islamists during the next four years:
Although the liberal and secular powers aren’t yet ready to take the lead for a number of reasons related to 35 years of oppression and destruction but still, the progress they made in a very short time is impressive and I think their main duty now is to establish balance with the religious parties during the coming four years and I believe we already have a partial balance...

What happened is that secular elements whether Sunni or She’at were marginalized and expelled (al-Mutlac from the Accord Front and Chalabi, Ali al-Dabbagh and Ibrahim Bahril Iloom from the UIA).
Marginalizing those men was the beginning of the coup that began from within the parties themselves.
Actually the UIA themselves weren’t even dreaming about 50% of the seats:

Nadeem al-Jabiri the head of the Fadheela Party (one of the 4 major components of the alliance) said in the interview that their goal is to achieve at least 1/3 of the seats of the Parliament as that would grant them the ability to block any alliance between other blocs.
The people in the Alliance realize very well that their chances to lead a government are getting smaller but they’re still in a state of denial, as one can conclude from al-Jabiri’s words “We have put in our plans that the Alliance shall win at least 1/3 of the seats so that no government can be formed without the Alliance…”.

All they wanted and all they knew they were able to get was 33% of the seats which can give them the veto right in the parliament but the Baghdad-for-Kirkuk deal with the Kurds allowed both of them to get the at least the 51% majority, each in his region of interest.

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