DC Rumor Mill: “Allawi Political Coup in Full Swing”
So the folks in Stephen Hadley’s NSC outfit are allegedly putting out the word that Meghan “Wanna-Be Ms. Bell” O’Sullivan, the White House’s political envoy to Baghdad, has lined up the necessary support to unseat current Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, who would ostensibly be replaced by the former PM Ayad Allawi.
Pie in the sky, says I.
These are the usual amateurish stunts that US diplomats and spooks resort to when trying to arm-twist a Middle Eastern ‘flunky’; Washington is panicked by the Sunni withdrawal from the government whilst their current policy can be summed up with “Give the Sunnis everything they want”—including arms and protection to former insurgents who’ve been killing Americans and Iraqis for the last five years. By spreading this rumor, the Americans would like to spook Maliki into giving the Sunnis all that they want too—their current demands being the Presidency, and the Oil, Defense and Finance ministries and the Intelligence Service, in addition to their current portfolios—and fall into line with policy.
Here’s a series of reality checks:
-No one can pull-off a military coup in Iraq.
-Parliament is out for another three weeks, so Maliki is not facing an immediate no-confidence vote.
-Adel Abdel-Mahdi, the current Vice-President, cannot deliver SCIRI’s parliamentary votes for the Allawi camp.
-The Sadrists won’t vote for Allawi.
-The Da’awa Party won’t follow former PM Ibrahim Jaafari if he moves against Maliki.
-Anyone seen as “Saudi Arabia’s guy”—as Allawi projects himself, although that may not really be the case as far as the Saudi leadership is concerned—is not likely to get Sistani & Co. to go along with this plan.
-The Iranians won’t let this happen, and they have far more political cards to play in Iraq than the Americans—and they can play those cards smarter than O’Sullivan.
-Why would the Kurds substitute their strong alliance with the Shiites, who are going to run the country for a very long time to come, in return for the fleeting favor of the defeated Sunnis (their rivals on Kirkuk) and a politician such as Allawi whose word really doesn’t go that far?
-Qasim Daoud, a favorite of the Emirati leadership and another PM candidate as far as the Americans are concerned, has too many corruption scandals hovering around his head.
-My sources tell me the following: one of the principal actors who was attempting to bring down Maliki has left Iraq for an extended vacation, telling anyone who’d listen that it can’t be done.
I’ll say it: the Americans are irrelevant to political events in Iraq. They may be arming the insurgents for the time being, but these murderers may have to be the ones who need to be airlifted out when the Americans eventually withdraw in order to dodge reprisals. It’s quite a prospect to consider: former insurgents being resettled in Minnesota.
The Americans may want to bend over backwards to appease the Sunni politicos, and the Saudi, Egyptian and Jordanian patrons who fund them, but that means very little in Baghdad’s intense political universe unless the Shiites play along, and why should they do so once everyone begins to realize that the Sunni insurgency is faltering?
In real terms, the power shift begun on April 9, 2003 has matured as the Shiite politicians began to mature; they’ve begun to play the game as it should be played by those who have the voters’ mandate to lead the political process.
Crocker and his crew may peddle the notion that Maliki is a lame duck, but all they’ll up with is lame government. A panicked gaggle of US diplomats is not a pretty sight either; they are becoming an added hindrance to forming a new, more agile cabinet. Spreading rumors at this junction, and threatening Maliki with something they can’t deliver, is an exercise in futility.
But they need not worry: the White House has consistently rewards congenital failures with promotions and Medals of Honor. Case in point: Ms. O’Sullivan, who has sold herself on the notion that she’s a latter-day Gertrude Bell. Ms. Bell was traversing the deserts alone, in 1904, to learn and report about the Middle East—a journey I’d think twice about nowadays even if I had GPS and a 4 x 4. O’Sullivan, who may be a sweetie for all I know, cannot claim such wisdom.
Leave politics to the Iraqis, and get on with the job of defeating terrorists. That is the fastest way to get the Sunnis to sober up and come to terms with their demographic numbers and their past and current shame as champions of a violent approach in dealing with their next-door neighbors. Consequent Sunni moderation will achieve two things: the Shiites will be less likely to seek Iran’s counsel and protection in preparation for the “worst case scenario” of a regional Sunni onslaught. The second consequence is an earlier, and more honorable, American withdrawal.
Doesn’t that sound better than these silly rumors being put out by the National Security Council?
And since we mentioned Allawi, one can’t ignore this snide story from IraqSlogger. Now just imagine many more poor parking wardens would get “swept along” if Allawi is back in power! Just for the record: Umm Hamza is considered a fine lady by many who know her, and I’m pretty sure she was just having a bad day.