Sunday 03 Jul 2022 | 10:03 | SYDNEY
Sunday 03 Jul 2022 | 10:03 | SYDNEY

Iraq: Bagdhad\ 1001 nights (well, almost)


Rodger Shanahan


15 November 2010 16:12

It appears that the eight–month wait for a new government to be formed in Iraq — the new beacon of Arab democracy — may at last be over. By gaining the premiership, the incumbent prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has managed to do what all right–minded Arab leaders do once they get to the top. To stay there unless toppled by force.

And while the results will be dressed up to ensure that no one is seen as an absolute winner or loser, Maliki's comfortable relations with Tehran and political alliance with Muqtatda as-Sadr means that Iraq's (and the region's) Sunnis will likely feel aggrieved that their support for Iyad Allawi came to nought. The announcement of a parliamentary National Council for Strategic Priorities under the control of Allawi was probably the price for the opposition's acquiescence to Maliki's position at the top. The council is liable to be seen by its supporters as the security guarantor for the Sunnis and Shi'a elements who are not so close to Iran. Whether it will prove to be so, or whether Maliki can marginalise it, will likely be a key feature of the internal political struggle in the future.

Either way, the obvious fractures in the Iraqi political environment are poised to provide sufficient incentive for those elements trying to bomb their way to sectarian conflict to continue their violent ways. There has already been one short–lived walkout by the Sunni–aligned Iraqiyya bloc and it is unlikely to be the last. Events over the last eight months will have caused more than a few gritted teeth in Arab capitals as well as amongst Sunni Iraqis, and it's unlikely that they will be unclenched any time soon.

Photo by Flickr user zzathras777, used under a Creative Commons licence.