Monday, April 30, 2007


(1) By way of followup to the "Showdown in Basra" story: Iraqi papers don't seem to mention this, but there is a one-sentence remark in Al-Hayat's Iraq news story this morning that says this:
Al-Hayat learned last evening that the Basra provincial council voted to remove the governor Mohamed Al-Waili, a leader of the Fadhila party, following a security and political firestorm against him, led by the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), following the exit of the Fadhila party from the governing United Iraqi Alliance (UIA). Sources in Basra say British forces escorted Al-Waili to the airport, where he left for an unknown destination.
Although he doesn't offer any details, it is significant that the journalist focuses on SCIRI as the instigator of this, leaving open the question of the role in this of federalism policy, on which Fadhila and SCIRI are at loggerheads. (Fadhila in favor of a small three-province unit; SCIRI in favor of a big nine-province unit that would include its stronghold around Najaf).

(2) There were some doubts about the story last Thursday about the Saudi king having insulted Maliki by failing to be available to meet with him on his Arab-capitals tour last week, because of anonymous sourcing, but since the WaPo has repeated the story as a Certified Fact (also with anonymous sourcing), these doubts have dissipated. And this morning, Al-Quds al-Arabi, in its lead editorial, takes the Saudi insult as Exhibit A in a review of the various ways in which the Maliki administration is weakening day by day, both in terms of internal support (citing the Sadrists defection) and external support. The Al-Quds editorialist connects this with growing speculation about whether the Maliki administration can survive, writing:

The decision of the Saudi king to refuse to meet [with Maliki last week] constitutes a serious blow to Maliki's government, at a time when he faces major difficulties in trying to stay in power, and many observers expect the collapse [of his government] at any moment.

(3) Khalaf al-Alyan, one of the three leaders of the Iraqi Accord Front, the biggest bloc in Parliament, was quoted last week from Amman predicting announcement soon of a multi-bloc coalition to oppose Maliki, is quoted this morning in several Iraqi papers as calling on the rest of the IAF leadership to issue a clear warning to Maliki that they will leave the government if the Adhamiya wall policy is continued, but in the current statements, he appears to have dropped the multi-bloc aspect of this, talking only about the IAF itself. (See this summary of Iraqi papers by Aswat al-Iraq). Alyan's house was raided recently by government forces, who said they found a quantity of weapons there, and his security people arrested. Aswat al-Iraq adds in a later item this morning that Harith al-Abidi, another IAF deputy, said the time hasn't come for the IAF to withdraw from the government. He said he still thinks there are possibilities for intra-government agreement, but "when it becomes clear that the door of discussion is closed, at that point we will say our efforts have no further point, and we will withdraw from the government".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doubtless SCIRI has for some time hoped to unseat Fadila. The most important move so far came on Saturday when a leading Harakat al-Daawa figure openly broke with Fadila. However, so far there are persisting quarrels about the number of people behind the no-confidence vote as well as the way it was brought about (apparently in a gathering in the house of the council speaker rather than in the office of the council). Earlier there have also been suggestions that Fadila might offer a replacement governor from their own ranks. It seems doubtful that the idea of a small-scale region in the south will disappear even if Fadila were forced from power though. In fact, there are increasing indications that SCIRI is trying to hedge its bets – I am thinking for instance of their possible association with the (small-scale) Majlis al-Iqlim al-Janub which you reported on earlier this month.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Dancewater said...

help, please:

can you tell us what this is about and if it is credible? thanks

6:21 PM  
Blogger badger said...

It says Urgent: American and Iraqi forces just recently "occupied" a hospital in Adhamiya and arrested everyone trying to enter for treatment or exams and so on. And it also says there were random arrests of dozens of youths from Al-Safina neighborhood, and the people of Adhamiya were told they were going to be executed at a particular location. The article appeals for help from people to try and prevent these executions. You're in a better position than I am to figure out what's probably behind this.

6:59 PM  

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