Saturday, May 24, 2008


(1) Sources think Maliki is working on dividing the IAF

A couple of posts back, I noted one of the roadblocks in the way of the Iraqi Accord Front (IAF) rejoining the government--namely the rejection by the Maliki government of the nominees of Khalaf al-Alyan, reviewing who he was and what that rejection meant. Today, AlHayat has some additional remarks by an IAF person that point in the same direction, only more bluntly.
The issue of the IAF rejoining the still suspended, waiting for the position of [Maliki] on the list of candidates the IAF has presented. High-level sources said accusations of "belonging to the Baath" or "close to a banned party" have pursued lists that have been proposed [earlier] by the IAF, and sources in the IAF are convinced this represents an attempt to obstruct the return of the IAF to the government, ahead of [trying to] split its ranks, dismantle it. An Islamic Party official by the name of Omar AbdulSattar said he doesn't understand the reasons for the current delay by the government in approving the latest list.
(2) Meanwhile, Maliki will be touting "political progress" next week in Stockholm

Maliki leaves tomorrow or the next day for Stockholm, for a regular annual meeting of the 50 or so countries that are signatory to the "international covenant" that was signed May 2007 in Sharm-el-Sheikh. If you want to be reminded what that covenant consisted of, you'll have to ask someone else. In any event, the GreenZone paper AlSabaah says one of the points Maliki will be touting in his address to the meeting will be the political progress that he has made in the recent period of time! It is possible we have here another motive for last Thursday's visit to Najaf to try for some good PR from Sistani.

(3) No sign of Sistani image-refurbishment in Iraq

Speaking of Sistani, the evidence so far is that there isn't any basis at all for thinking that the Najaf authorities were responding to domestic pressure and trying to distance themselves from the oppressive policies represented by the Sadr City campaign. On the contrary, they seem to have made no meaningful effort to have any part of the AP story reflected in Iraqi news accounts. On the official website, the only reference to the meeting is a few lines from the AFP story, which merely quoted Maliki on the theme of Sistani's "support for the government in general". And Aswat al Iraq, which would be the natural place to launch something into the Iraqi media, dismisses the whole dustup this way:
A source close to [Sistani] denied reports circulated by global [meaning foreign] news agencies about Sistani having issued a fatwa permitting the use of arms to oust the foreign forces from Iraq, stressing that [Sistani] has been calling for peaceful resistance since the fall of the prior regime.
The "not at the present time" phrase, so far, seems to have occurred only in a couple of lines at the end of a story in AlSharq al-Awsat this morning; and on the obscure website I cited yesterday.

(By contrast, the big proponent of refurbishing his image, and holding out the prospect of an eventual turn against the foreign forces by Najaf (and by Maliki and Hakim too!) was none other than Juan Cole himself. Whether refurbishment of the Najaf/Maliki image in America via Cole was in any way behind the whole AP kerfuffle or not, of course one cannot say. But the fact it didn't have that effect at all in Iraq does make one wonder...)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumours abound, though.

3:57 PM  
Blogger badger said...

true. (That's a particularly interesting link, I notice Crocker just happened to be stopping by Najaf today. This is sounding more and more like your paperback mystery all the time. I still don't like the Ayatollah ex machina device, it doesn't sound right; then again...)

5:14 PM  

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