Sunday, May 2, 2010

Iraq Election Update

The drama involving the formation of a new ruling coalition in Iraq continues. Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya list finished first beating Prime Minister Maliki's State of Law list by two seats. The resulting jockeying has seen accusations of Iranian involvement by the former and calls for a recount by the latter. The Sadrists, the largest member of the Iraqi National Alliance, the list that finished a distant third, has in a private members only election stated it will not form a coalition with either Allawi or Maliki as Prime Minister. They prefer former Prime Minister Jaffari, a member of their INA list and a former lead of the Da'wa Party. The Kurds want desperately to be involved in whatever coalition ultimately is formed.

On top of the usual politics regarding the formation of a ruling coalition, a far more troubling spectrum is forming on the horizon. Frederick W. Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute and Kimberly Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War have written a piece for the Washington Post. They focus on the new development that has the Accountability and Justice Commission invalidating certain results by declaring certain candidates ineligible after the fact. The AJC is tasked with ensuring that active Ba'ath Party members cannot re-enter the government. Maliki is encouraging the AJC to declare certain candidates invalid. The goal is for Maliki to sap enough strength away from Allawi that his party becomes the leader. This action would be disastrous for Iraq as it would lead to a likely United Shi'a government that excludes both the Sunnis and the Kurds. Furthermore, the manner in which the Sunnis were deprived of their representation, would risk fulling the insurgency and beginning the cycle toward Civil War.

The AJC's actions are nothing less than to deny the Iraqi people their voice. They spoke loudly in the National elections for a democratic Iraqi state. If Maliki's desire to remain in power and the INA's visions of a Shi'a state are allowed to win out, it will be a dark day for Iraq as it begins to drift back toward authoritarianism.

There is little the United States can do but watch and pray that the better natures prevail, the elections are allowed to stand, and the growing pains of Iraqi democracy allowed to continue as it enters its own.

I am going to change my prediction on the eventual coalition however. I think it is now probable that the ruling coalition will consist of the State of Law list led by Maliki and the INA. In the end the desire for Shi'a dominance will win out and the INA will fall in line behind the Prime Minister.

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