ISSN 2330-717X

Iraq: Blackmailing Maliki’s Government


By Hassan Hanizadeh

The recent protests in different Iraqi cities can be analyzed within the framework of a series of political agitation against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Maliki, who formed his government after eight months of consultation with political spectra, faced numerous political setbacks.

Obstruction by the al-Iraqiya list led by Iyad Allawi, “a Shia party in favor of separation of religion from politics,” delayed the process of government formation for long.

In such conditions and in the security vacuum, resulted from much haggling for the formation of a national unity government, Arab terrorist groups attempted to create insecurity throughout the country.

The rise of tension created dissatisfaction among the Iraqis and clouded the political and security arenas in the country.

The instability prevented Maliki’s government from providing welfare services in different cities, paving the way for demonstrations.

Al-Iraqiya, which won 91 parliamentary seats in March 2010 elections, failed to form its government of choice.

Iyad Allawi was supposed to chair the National Council for Strategic Policy, having failed to form the government. But he cancelled his candidacy.

He intended to make the preparations for the collapse of Maliki’s national unity government as an opposition force.

Therefore, the recent demonstrations adopted more of a political aspect than being a protest at Baghdad’s failure in provision of welfare.

Coincidentally, the people of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan staged a massive protest at the rule of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, led by Massoud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, headed by Jalal Talabani.

The major demand of the people, especially the citizens of Sulaymanieh, was that the city enjoys the same share of welfare services that the city of Arbil does.

Sulaymanieh’s people are of the opinion that the Kurdistan Regional Government, whose seat is in Arbil, spends most of its budget to provide the services to the people in Arbil, while Sulaymanieh gets a smaller share.

Now, Maliki’s government faces two new problems in Kurdistan and the country’s other regions.

Sulaymanieh’s problem is actually solvable through assistance and consultation between the two parties.

Kurdistan’s rulers know well that increase in the differences would further divide the people and the region’s leadership.

This is while Baghdad’s main problem at the present is domestic and regional political agitation.

Al-Iraqiya is trying to overturn Maliki’s government through organizing a velvet revolution, using some Persian Gulf Arab states’ media.

These media magnify the protests and accuse the government of failing to provide the welfare services.

Currently, Iraq’s political atmosphere is under the influence agitation through the news against the government, which portrays an insecure perspective in the country.

The government would undoubtedly face two major challenges in the months to come.

The first is the withdrawal of the United States forces from Iraq by the end of 2011 under the security agreement between Washington and Baghdad.

The pullout is definitely a demand by the entire Iraqi public and would make them happy.

But Wahhabi and Salafi terrorists and al-Qaeda elements would certainly use the circumstances to result from the withdrawal to create insecurity.

Therefore, Maliki’s government should start from now to compile an accurate security plan for the stage to follow the pullout.

Otherwise, al-Qaeda elements would attempt massive terrorist activities throughout Iraq in the future.

The second challenge, which threatens the national unity government’s future, is obstruction by the parties and spectra, which do not tread on the same political line as that Maliki’s government.

The parties would in the future increase their political demands to blackmail the government, thus portraying the leadership as inefficient.

Maliki, then, should abruptly introduce a series of substantial changes into his cabinet structure for him to be able to powerfully execute his government’s political, welfare and service programs.

Just distribution of wealth among disadvantaged provinces, rapid reconstruction of the country’s ruins, compilation of foreign and security policies based on the country’s national need and generation of employment for the Iraqi youths can create a pleasant atmosphere of domestic interaction.

Maliki would naturally be able to sweat out the current hard times with the assistance of favorable parties and pave the way for establishment of a type of national consensus between all Iraqi political spectra.

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