Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Coalitions

Just thought I’d fill you in on what I’m hearing from Baghdad. The following is not necessarily set in stone, and some of it is hearsay, but there’s hearsay and then there’s hearsay, and it doesn’t hurt to share this sort of gossip.

-Maliki will not join the new UIA. He’s taken to calling the UIA the “al-khatt al-irani” (‘The Iranian Line [Faction]’) in recent weeks. UIA is putting out that they have a sex scandal on Maliki.

-Maliki and Saleh al-Mutlag had their final exploratory meeting over forming a coalition on Monday, and decided that such an alliance, with Ayad Allawi on board, would be politically unfeasible and hurt them with their constituents.

-Right now it is Maliki plus Ahmad Abu Risha plus Abid Mutlag al-Juburi plus Mahmoud al-Mashhadani’s group. The latter also consists of Nadim al-Jaberi (formerly of the Fadhila Party). Also in the Maliki mix: Nawaf al-Jarba and Qaiser Witwit. Mithal al-Alusi is also supposed to be in there too, but hasn’t been confirmed to me. Maliki had a meeting with Ali al-Hatem, and chewed him out over supposed mismanagement of funds. Ahmed Ghaffour al-Samara’i, Tareq al-Hashemi and Abdullah Hmeidi might join too.

-Saleh al-Mutlag plus Ayad Allawi. This can be called the neo-Ba’athist list. Jawad al-Bolani was supposed to join but he is having second thoughts and might join the UIA; the Sadrists supposedly demanded that Bolani becomes the next PM at the most recent UIA meeting.

-Many liberals are coalescing around Dhia al-Shakarchi.

-The Islamic Party folks, even after the change of leadership, are being treated like lepers. No one wants to play with them.

-The Kurds have signaled that they are not interested in interethnic coalitions, although Noshirvan Mustafa has stated that his slate will compete in the national election.

37 Comments:

Blogger Joel Wing said...

Can you shed any light on what happened with the Islamic Party? I remember reading a little while ago that they changed leadership, and since then that Hashemi is thinking of running independently, but no details. Did they have some kind of big leadership struggle or something?

6:40 PM, September 10, 2009

 
Anonymous Iraqia said...

You forgot "Independents" of Hussein Shahristani which is also with Maliki.

4:04 AM, September 11, 2009

 
Blogger Zaab said...

Yes Sheikh Khalid Attiya is also with the "Independents" and they are currently with Maliki. Where is Mowaffaq Rubaie?

8:29 AM, September 11, 2009

 
Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Hi Joel,

The IIP split goes back to the time when Tareq al-Hashimi preached a more pronounced Sunni radicalism and association with Arab Sunni governments around the region, versus the accomodation and moderation exhibited by Muhsin Abdel-Hamid. Hashimi carried the day back then, but the moderate faction used the poor showing of the IIP at the provincial elections to argue that Hashemi's approach had failed, that the IIP wouldn't out-shout the Ba'athists or others when it came to Sunni particularism, and that instead they should focus on a constituency that rewards moderation and accomodation of the Shias. It should be remembered that many of the IIP's moderate wing lived outside Iraq during the Saddam years and maintained cordial personal relationships with the leaders of the other opposition groups. Furthermore, the MBs, as the old guard IIP guys identify themselves, are habitually skeptical of the agendas of Arab autocracies, the ones that Hashemi wanted to ally with. There are also accusations of corruption, and harboring terrorist elements, that were leveled at Hashemi, which the moderate wing used to its advantage to bring about his downfall. It seems that Hashemi has completely broken with the IIP and is running on his own slate.

Hi Iraqia, yes, Shahristani is with Maliki, but they aren't making a big deal of it since Shahristani is quite unpopular at moment. Shahristani's former bloc within the UIA, Mustaqiloon, broke up a while ago, with the dissenting faction, calling itself the Tadhamun (under Qassim Daoud now), joining the new UIA.

Hi Zaab, yes Attiya is following their lead. 'Moe Baker' (Mowaffaq al-Rubay'i)'s Wasat faction is allying itself with Maliki, for now.

Best,

Nibras

9:09 AM, September 11, 2009

 
Anonymous kurdi said...

It's NowshirWan... not Noshirvan... Sorani and not Behdinani... Kurd up, kak Nibras!

11:42 AM, September 12, 2009

 
Blogger Joel Wing said...

Side note,

Anyone got friends or family in Basra? This guy who use to work for Prince Hassan of Jordan claims that people in Basra speak Persian/Farsi more than Arabic. He's making the comments here at Marc Lynch's blog on Foreign Policy.

http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/09/07/civil_wars_literature_and_iraq#comments

The laguage in Basra.
by janbekster on Sat, 09/12/2009 - 4:37pm

I did not say that Presian (Farisi) is an official language in Basra, though its usage in the city and in the Governorate on the streets, has surpassed Arabic (Arabic and Kurdish being the official languages of Iraq). This fact is no more a reason to have Basra being annexed by Iran, than the fact that many of the leadership of "al Dawa Party" and the "Council for the Revolution", are of Persian origin and Persian (Farisi) speakers; even the revered and much respected Ayattullah Sistani; as the name indicates, is not a reason for the Shi'a of Iran to follow Qom. What one is saying, is neither a revelation; as it has already been revealed by many observers, and ceratinly not an insider knowledge; especially that one is actually a distant outsider. However, having an insider knowledge would indicate that one has an official position of sorts; and one has neither an official nor unofficial position, which would have meant that, I couldn't devulge insider knowledge.

12:06 PM, September 13, 2009

 
Anonymous ahmed said...

Joel,

As the comments by Janbekster relate to "the laguage.." then I can not comment.
However the overwhelming population of Basra speak Arabic as their main language.

1:39 PM, September 13, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This janbekster is a pompous ignoramus. I would not waste time correcting such bullshit. Can you imagine what other racist distortions he has told his royal patrons? Janbekster (Khairi Janbek) is an example of how low the standards for knowledge are in Jordan. He should be embarrassed by what he writes but he does not know enough to understand that it is embarassing. Nibras has made this point before that Marc Lynch is an apologist for seeing the world through Arab Sunni eyes so it is not surprising that he will draw those kinds of idiots to his blog.

2:15 PM, September 13, 2009

 
Anonymous Abu Isloof said...

Thanks for the update Mr.Kazimi,

Any idea on what the Sadrist trend is going to do in the upcoming elections? Are they going to run on their own or re join the UIA? I know that there has been several fractions in Sadrist trend in the past year, do you think the Sadrist movement is as powerful as it was in 2005?

Thanks,

Abu Isloof

7:06 PM, September 13, 2009

 
Blogger Joel Wing said...

Abu Isloof,

The Sadrists have joined the new National Alliance.

6:25 PM, September 14, 2009

 
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