The 'New' United Iraqi Alliance, and Bolani for PM
My new piece for Hudson NY today deals with the persistent delays in announcing the 'new' UIA, and why some are pushing for Jawad al-Bolani to be Maliki's replacement.
These delays cannot be chalked up solely to finding the most auspicious and PR-friendly date possible; these delays mask a failure by the chief architects of the new UIA to sign on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. They know fully well that without Maliki, the UIA would be a desperate stunt by washed-up parties that have been battered at the ballot box, and continue to sink at the polls.Continue reading...
For now, UIA sources are putting up a brave face, “Everything is fine, Maliki is on board.” But they must have been a little rattled when Ali al-Adeeb, the most enthusiastic supporter for a resurrected UIA within the Maliki camp, was quoted a couple of days ago as saying to an Iraqi news agency that “It is a matter of who joins who,” that is, does Maliki join the UIA or does the UIA fold under the wing and leadership of Maliki, the latter an impossible prospect for the inflated egos of the UIA’s key players.
It is at such times that one must tune into Baghdad’s rumor mills. Rumors may not be true, yet they do reflect a state of mind and may influence the multiple showdowns of political brinkmanship accompanying the negotiations for a new alliance. One particular rumor must sound upsetting to Maliki: the consensus candidate for the prime minister’s job after the election is the current Minister of Interior, Jawad al-Bolani. According to the rumor mongers, most of the components of the UIA—spooked as they are by Maliki’s rising fortunes—as well as the Kurds and the two dominant Sunni camps, the Islamists and the neo-Ba’athists, want any credible alternative to Maliki to be agreed upon before going further, and that candidate is Mr. Bolani. In other words, the UIA is a trap for Maliki so that his adversaries can tether him down and replace him with another.