Sunday, February 19, 2006
Forming the New Government
It looks like we are on the verge of hearing about the new Iraqi government that is to be formed. The United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) controls 128 of the 275 seats in the parliament, making them the biggest block (they received 48% of the votes in the December 2005 elections). They have already had an internal vote to see who should be the Iraqi Prime Minister. The Da'wa Party head Dr Ibhrahim Ja'fary won by a margin of one vote ahead of Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq's (SCIRI) candidate Dr Adel Abdul Mehdi. The list with the largest block (UIA) can nominate who ever they want to be Prime Minister, but in order for a government to be formed, two-thirds of the seats in parliament is needed. Obviously, no list in Iraq has the amount needed, so heated debates are taking place right now to figure out the coalition that is to be formed.
The UIA is also very close with Iran, many of its members lived for decades in Iran and have formed close ties with the Iranian regime. Iran still funds one of the parties in the UIA, and commanders in some of their militia are Iranian intelligence agents.
The Islamist Shia, who make up the UIA are looking to get the Kurdistan Alliance (53 seats) to join them. However the secular Shia, namely Ayad Allawi's Iraqi National List (25 seats) as well as the two Sunni lists, Iraqi Accordance Front (44 seats) and the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue (11 seats), together control 80 seats in the parliament, if they can persuade the Kurd's to join them, they can have control of 133 which makes them bigger than the UIA.
This new coalition can now push through a Prime Minister of their own, however, they still will not have the two-thirds needed to form a government. The ball is in the court of the Kurd's, and every one will be monitoring their every move to see what they intent to do. They are already having daily talks with the UIA so it looks likely that we will see a Islamist Shia/Kurd alliance, however in politics, and especially Iraqi politics anything is possible.
Jalal Talabani, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) which with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) make up the Kurdish Alliance has already given a warning to the Islamist Shia (UIA). He has told them that he will not participate in any government that Ayad Allawi is not a prominent member of. His statement was made in reaction to "red lines" the Islamic Shia have set themselves. More or less implying they do not want to see Dr Ayad Allawi have any role in the new government. This is mainly because it was Allawi's government in 2004 that fought with the Mehdi Army, the rag-tag army controlled by Moqtada Sadr. Motada Sadr is in control of over 30 seats in the UIA and so has great influence within that list. However, it is not just Jalal Talabani who wants to see Ayad Allawi have an important role in the new government, the American's would want him aswell, because Dr Ayad Allawi has had very close ties with the C.I.A ever since he left the Ba'ath Party in 1970.
Many Iraqi politicians are calling for a "National Unity" government which will be a government made up of every race, religion and sect that make up the diverse Iraqi society. This is the government i want to see rule Iraq.
There is nothing for us to do other than wait and see what is to become of Iraq. Who ever it is leading Iraq, and what ever government is formed, i just hope that they will think about Iraq's interests, not their families, not their pockets, not their seats and definately not Iran's interests.