Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Election Quickies

Iraq’s Third Ba’athist Coup? The jury is still out among historians regarding the role, if any, of the Central Intelligence Agency is the military coups that took place in Baghdad in 1963 and 1968. But one guy heavily involved in both events seems to be making an implicit threat of a future coup should the elections results not go his way. This is what Ayad Allawi was quoted as saying to the Los Angeles Times today:

"If things turn out to be very sectarian and sectarian forces would be in power," he said, "then we have to rethink our strategy and continue fighting to restore democracy to the country — one way or another — as we did before, fighting Saddam."

You Broke My Heart, Muqtada. Afkar website—reports stuff with a sort of Shia liberal bent—is claiming that Abdul-Hadi Al-Darraji, Muqtada Al-Sadr’s representative in Sadr City, is now telling his flock to vote for a list called Risaliyoun (no. ‘631’) in the upcoming elections. Sadr also has candidates on the main Islamist list, the United Iraqi Alliance (no. ‘555’). The UIA list was hoping that Muqtada’s constituency would land them at least 20 seats on its own, but Muqtada apparently has other plans in his muddled mind. Fun times up ahead.

Kurds Foil Reforms, Again. Azzaman Newspaper carried a story yesterday that claimed that attempts by current Sunni Arab Defense Minister Sa’adoun Al-Duleimi to remove or transfer 13 top Kurdish officers (including Chief of Staff Babeker Zebari) have been foiled. The story is spun in such a way to make it seem as if the initiative came from the Islamist cabinet of PM Jaafari. The real story is that Zebari and those officers from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) were involved in the corruption scams that gouged the ministry under Shaalan and Allawi. Azzaman is owned by Saad Al-Bazzaz and the daily is financed by a variety of backers including the KDP’s Nechirvan Barzani.

Shameless Shaalan. As reported here, ex-Minister of Defense Hazem Al-Shaalan is back in Baghdad, “to counter allegations besmirching his name, and to challenge his detractors to a televised debate,” as told to an interviewer from Asharq Al-Awsat (it’s Maad Fayadh again…) But I finally managed to find a picture of one of those posters that has Al-Sha’alan campaigning on the fictional ‘Haramiyoun’ (‘The Thieves’) electoral list. This one is from Basra, enjoy:

This Guy Also Has Determined Enemies. Adnan Al-Zurfi survived an assassination attempt today near Najaf. For background, check out this recent post.