Will the breakthrough of political deadlock lead to Iraq's future prosperity?

09:23, November 12, 2010      

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Iraqi political blocs have reached an agreement over three top posts of the country, Kurdish regional president Masoud Barzani said at a news conference Thursday in Baghdad.

According to him, current Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will have another term; Kurdish blocs will have Jalal Talabani as president again; the parliament speaker will be chosen from the Sunni-backed Iraqia List; as for former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, he is scheduled to lead a new National Council for Strategic Policies.

Barzani's comments have been proved by politicians from the two major rival blocs, the State of Law coalition and the Iraqia List.

However, is this really a perfect solution welcomed by all parties, and will this achievement bring stability and prosperity to the war-torn country?


Under a decision from the Iraqi High Court, the Iraqi parliament is scheduled to hold its session Thursday afternoon and will be chaired by the elder speaker Fuad Masum.

According to Iraqi constitution, the parliament must elect its new speaker and his two deputies in the first session. Then the parliament under the new speaker must elect a new president who will later nominate the candidate of the largest bloc as the prime minister to form his cabinet.

However, the Iraqi parliamentary blocs insist agreeing on the names of president, parliament speaker and prime minister as one package before resuming the parliament session.

Even the harsh talks between Maliki and his rival Ayad Allawi have continued for eight months, the court's decision to resume the session almost left the blocs no time for further negotiations and struggles.

Meanwhile, still active al-Qaida also took advantage of the government formation crisis and launched two major attacks against Iraq's minority Christians and majority Shiites, leaving more than 120 civilians killed and around 400 others wounded.

The deteriorated security situation inflamed angers among Iraqis, who started to blame the politicians for not protecting them well due to personal interests. Hence, the politicians had to reach an agreement in such short time before the session resumes under increasing domestic and international pressure.


Allawi's Iraqi List won the most 91 seats in the March 7 parliamentary election, two more than his major rival Maliki's State of Law coalition.

According to Allawi's understanding, he should have the legitimate right to form a government. But under great pressure and limited cooperation from other blocs, he lost the opportunity and will become the head of the National Council for Strategic Policies, which is said to be powerful over the country's security issues.

Allawi was backed strongly by Iraqi Sunnis and the Sunni Arab world. Last week, he told media that "there are still no discussions about agreements on power-sharing, or devolution of power. Our rights and the will of the Iraqi people are ignored."

In an interview with Xinhua, Haidar al-Mullah, politician and spokesman of the Iraqia List, said "the agreement about the presidency represents the least of what the Iraqis wish from the recent elections."

"I won't name the agreement as historic, because people have waited for eight months and we all hope to have a government with the ability to create changes in Iraqis' life in services, security and economic fields," he said.

"But I wonder, have we made a success as the people see Nuri al-Maliki again in his post, Talabani president again, and Hashimi, too?" he said.

"We will be glad if the government work positively on the ground, but if the bleeding of the Iraqi people continues and all what we have accomplished is a political consensus, where is the success?" said Mullah.

"We will support the government if there are any good results on the ground, and we will be harsh critics to it if the deteriorated situation of the Iraqi people continues," he warned.


It was reported that Maliki's new government would reserve some key ministerial level posts for the Sunni-backed group Iraqia, like foreign minister, to include Sunnis inside the political process.

Some local analysts said the agreement was "good," but remained sceptical about how much power would the new National Council for Strategic Policy have.

"I believe it is a good step to have this agreement on the main posts so that people can see a new government eight months after the March 7 polls," Ibrahim al-Ameri, a professor in Baghdad University, told Xinhua.

"The agreement is fair for all Iraqi factions, if we take into consideration the short time of three-day tough negotiations, and if we consider that the yet-to-be-created National Council for Strategic Policies will really have acceptable authority for Sunnis," he said.

Iraq may enter a new stage for peaceful development from now on, but it depends on the Sunnis' reaction to the power-sharing, implied the professor.

"What we need is support from the Sunni community to the new government, but that will not be achieved without significant role of Allawi's Sunni-backed bloc," he said.

"Therefore, it is vital for the Iraqia to make sure that their National Council for Strategic Policies will have a real power, otherwise, the Sunnis will again feel sidelined by Maliki and his Shiite alliance, a matter that would fuel sectarian violence," he added.

Source: Xinhua


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