Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Maliki (and Hashemi) planning to run as anti-sectarian liberals !

Tareq alHashemi, vice president of the republic and head of the Islamic Party of Iraq, said recently he would be prepared to relinquish his post in the government and urge other party members to do the same, if the other parties would agree to a thorough restructuring of the government along non-sectarian lines. This election-oriented and completely impractical idea of renouncing--at this late date--the sectarian-allocation system that brought his party to power, is now being imitated by none other than Prime Minister Maliki himself. In a speech to tribal supporters at a football stadium near Karbala, Maliki congratulated himself on the "miraculous" improvements in security during his tenure, but at the same time criticized the narrow and sectarian political system that has been in place since 2003. IraqAlaan summarizes the talk this way:
[Maliki] described the accomplishments of the last two years in the security area as "miraculous", but he criticized the current political system for its lack of a just allocation of posts on the basis of real qualifications. Speaking to a group of tribal Sheikhs in Karbala on Wednesday at the start of Eid al Adha on the Shiite calendar, Maliki criticized the political system because of its "failure to distribute jobs and appointments on the basis of qualifications". He said "qualifications are not valued, as long as this reality persists," adding: "We have been forced to adopt this system, and I will not say any more than that."
In other words, Maliki is indicating he will be running against the system of sectarian and ethnic quotas that was introduced by Bremer following the American invasion.

The journalist notes this isn't the first time Maliki has taken that line. He writes:
It will be recalled that Prime Minister Maliki has recently started directing criticism that some have called provocative, against the political system that has been in place since 2003, and some of these statements have caused tension with other important participants in the political process including the Kurds and the Supreme Council...
Ladybird of RoadstoIraq calls attention to an enlightening essay by Iraqi journalist Faisal alRubaie explaining what is behind this apparently strange turn of events. She cites the gist of it. I would like to say a little more about in in the next post.


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