Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Politics in flux

Muhamad Ahsan, minister in the regional Kurdistan government for external affairs, accused the national government of Nuri al-Maliki of "losing their nerve" with respect to moving ahead with the "normalization process" for Kurkuk, according to Al-Hayat. He particularly criticized what he said was a decision by Maliki to transfer the right of final authorization of steps (referendum and so on) from himself personally, to his cabinet. Ahsan said Maliki has told him that "minister so-and-so is a terrorist", so how can he expect Kurdistan to agree to putting their fate in the hands of a group including such people. (This apparently indicates there had earlier been an agreement that decisions authorizing the recommendations of the council on Kirkuk-normalization would be up to Maliki personally, not the cabinet).

What this indicates is that in spite of reports elsewhere, the decision on Thursday of last week respecting the Kirkuk process was not entirely to the liking of the Kurdistan government. Moreover, Al-Hayat says it became clear in parliamentary discussions of this that the issue has caused disunity within the major blocs, with some members from the UIA (Shiite), the Iraqi Accord Front (Sunni), and the Iraqi List (Allawi's group), supporting the proposed legislation, and some opposing it. One member described as a leader of the Iraqi List said his group plans a court challenge to the proposed legislation alleging overlooking the rights of Turkmen and Arabs in Kirkuk makes this unconstitutional.

And in the same Al-Hayat story, there are references to similar cases of splintering of the traditional voting blocs on issues relating to the two other pending legislative issues: DeBaathification and Oil. On DeBaathification, the journalist says the Allawi group along with others is proposing an alternative to the government proposal (that would be closer to a complete shut-down of Chalabi's existing DeBaathification Council); and he adds that the Chalabi group has proposed its own version of a revised DeBaathification plan (presumably closer to the existing system). And the journalist suggests there are other alternative proposals too.

On the Oil and Gas law, it appears the Parliamentary president Mahmoud Mashhadani has proposed that parliament sponsor a study session or something of that kind, in Dubai on the seventh of this month, and the Al-Hayat reporter quotes a couple of members as supporting the idea of trying to explain the provisions of the law in an environment away from the "various pressures" of the Green zone.

The Al-Hayat reporter summaizes the legislative free-for-all atmosphere in his lede as follows:
The sessions of the current third legislative period of Parliament are witnessing a paroxysm of disputes within [or "among"] the parties and the political blocs. Discussions on the draft laws with respect to oil and gas, and with respect to DeBaathification, in addition to the Kirkuk proposal, have intensified deep divisions between the parliamentary blocs and within each of the blocs on the one side, and between them and the government on the other.
In a separate piece, Al-Hayat quotes the leader of the Fadhila party, who says his group is still a work on its attempt to find or foster a nationalist program for Iraq that would rescue the country from its current crisis. He said Arab countries in the region have an important role to play in this, describing current efforts as taking place inside and outside of Iraq. He said the parties to any such nationalist program will be bound together not by personalities, but by the program itself, and the ties will not be Islamists but nationalist. But there aren't any specific details.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi all I just wanted to bring this article to your attention:
US uses Neutron Bombs in Iraq

I have heard this story before from arabs returning from this battle in syria, but this is the first time I've found an article confirming it.
They say there is going to be an interview on Aljazeera confirming it.

8:33 AM  
Blogger annie said...

where are you badger?? i miss your posts like the dickens

8:31 AM  
Blogger badger said...

just resting up a bit.

10:03 AM  
Blogger annie said...

well, don't stay away to long, we need you.

10:13 AM  

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