Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Maliki’s Life Just Got A Lot Harder

The Sunnis have named their price for supporting SOFA: doing away with the watered down version of De-Ba’athification that they acquiesced to a short while back, as well as annulling the tribunal that is looking into the crimes committed against the Iraqi people by the Saddam’s regime.

The Sunnis even floated the idea of releasing the ex-insurgents currently being held by the Americans, for they are “freedom fighters”—but the American embassy drew the line at this idea even though they tacitly encouraged the two demands above by not balking at them.

Earlier Sunni demands, such as integrating Awakening groups and putting SOFA to a national referendum next year, were reasonable and doable, but these late additions are far off the reservation.

In other words, the Sunnis don’t intend to vote for SOFA. Their demands are too ludicrous, and they know it: the Shias and Kurds won’t accept them.

The Sunnis know that their votes are not necessary for SOFA to pass, but they are making full use of Sistani’s call of a “broad consensus on SOFA”—which many interpreted as the necessity of getting the Sunnis on board—to score all sorts of political points with their constituencies.

The idea was apparently proposed by Saleh al-Mutlag at a closed meeting today among the three main Sunni blocs at the Constitutional Hall of the Iraqi parliament.

This leaves Maliki in the unenviable position of being unable to satisfy the demands of either the Sunnis or Sistani. So effectively, he’s screwed.

Maliki can’t very well convince his own Da’awa Party to scrap the court even before the culprits responsible for the crime of murdering Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and his sister Bint al-Huda (they were killed in 1980, he’s the spiritual founder of the Da’awa Party) go on trial. Imagine telling the Israeli public that the government decided not to put Eichmann to account after capturing him in Argentina, and you’ll get a sense of how much of a non-starter the Sunni proposal is.

And if anyone thought the Sadrists were noisy, imagine their howls at being told that Iraq’s new official policy towards Ba’athists shall be “bygones are bygones” as a condition of SOFA. (On a related note, a source told me that the Sadrists had prepared to throw water bottles at Maliki had he spoken at parliament today. I don’t think they would stoop that low, but thought I should relate it anyway just in case such a melee happens tomorrow.)

If the Sunnis don’t vote for SOFA, then they lose nothing. They don’t risk alienating the Americans (who’ve put up with all sorts of crazy Sunni tantrums before) because SOFA will pass anyway. They also don’t risk spending political capital among their constituency for swallowing a bitter political pill, at the same time letting ex-regime supporters know that they have had their best interests at heart all along. The added benefit would be Maliki having egg on his face for not meeting Sistani’s stipulation, exposing him to a no-confidence vote for bungling SOFA.

There’s a meeting in President Talabani’s house this evening (Baghdad time), but I’d be surprised if an accommodation can be reached. Clearly, the Sunnis made these demands knowing full well that they won’t be met, and if they are willing to play this way, then no amount of bargaining can sway them at this late stage to support SOFA.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are these the same Sunnis who didn't vote in the 2005 elections? How's that working out for them?

Go ahead and let 'em vote against it. There are elections coming up in January, right? I'm sure some enterprising young aspiring politicians will be able to make a lot of hay out of that in the Sunni areas.

2:28 PM, November 26, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only Sunni politicians hijacked the Sunni votes, the Kurds also did the same thing.

Thank you Nibras for letting me know how peace of sh*t Talabani is.

Nibras, can you tell me why electricity has not been improved in Erbil for the last 5 years? What do the Kurdish parties do with all the money they get from the government? Are you personally getting any share of this money?


2:48 PM, November 26, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My paranoia reawakens. Baath is in hibernation, not dead.

5:23 PM, November 26, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ps Nibras. I guess there's no English language book about Bint al Huda? I would very much like to know more about her? She must have been quite a woman for Baath to have needed to exterminate her?

5:25 PM, November 26, 2008

Blogger Brian H said...

More drivel from Ali, the hyper-sectarian. FOAD.

10:06 PM, November 26, 2008

Blogger Don Cox said...

"Baath is in hibernation, not dead." _______ Did you ever think otherwise? There are thousands of Iraqi Baathists living in Syria.

1:28 AM, November 27, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

╠ The Sunnis even floated the idea of releasing the ex insurgents currently being held by the Americans, for they are ''freedom fighters'' but the American embassy drew the line at this idea╠

Yea, I'm not sure what the most ridiculous part of that is.

Is it that we are pretending that this government is sovereign, as it gets it's decisions overruled by a foreign embassy,

or is it that these Iraqi are calling them "freedom fighters," while themselves serving in the occupation regime

7:04 PM, November 27, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian H, it is not sectarianism. I respect all sects in Iraq and outside Iraq, but don't like the liars. Do you think Talabani and Barazani are angles. They are the biggest thieves in Iraq and anybody supports their actions in Baghdad is responsible to what is happening to Iraqis.

Why there is no Democracy in Kurdistan? Why it is not allowed for Kurdish people to criticise or speak against the Kurdish parties in Kurdistan? Why Kurdish people are terrorized by those two parties. These two parties are taking all the money they get from the government in Baghdad and they send it to their loyalists such as Mr. Kazimi. And by the way, all the information Mr. Kazimi is getting, he gets it from his Kurdish friends who live in Baghdad.


6:22 AM, November 29, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...


That is a bit childish, is it not? To accuse whoever does not agree with you of being "in the pay" of so and so. That sounds very immature.

It should not matter where Nibras gets his information from as long as he gets it before the news cycle. Nibras keeps telling us about events before the are reported in the MSM. I'm sure that is why his readers appreciate the blog he keeps voluntarily. If I wanted Maliki or Dawa Party propaganda then I can visit their websites.

11:53 AM, November 29, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason I got angry with Mr. Kazimi is because of his willingness to change Maliki through some old fashioned Baathists methods which Talabani and his bunch knows very well. Maliki with all his mistakes proved to be a uniter. What the Americans do after every election is that they start to work together and forget all the difference between the Cons & Dems. What lasy Talabani and Barazani do, is get as much money from the government and spend it on their followers and change everyone who oppose them in Bahgdad.


2:09 PM, November 29, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think you are too enamored of Maliki. Do not turn men into gods for that is how tyrants come about. Are you not worried that Maliki intends to become another Saddam? I am sure Saddam had people defending him as he was rising to power. Saddam's enemies were demonized. Fanaticism and racism are poisonous to Iraq. I am sorry to say that your comments give the impression that they were written by a fanatic and a racist.

3:28 PM, November 29, 2008

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al-Maliki should seek a prorogation of Parliament to stave off a no-confidence motion. That's how we do it in Canada!

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