Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bits and Pieces

-I’ve written two pieces for Hudson-NY. The latest (today) is about what the politicians are talking about in Baghdad:
The Iraqi political class is preoccupied these days with the word ‘alliances’. Parliamentary elections are seven months away, yet everyone is scrambling to form exploratory committees to cobble together a viable slate, sometimes leading to a gathering of the strangest bedfellows. This activity is occurring against the backdrop of an unresolved mechanism for how the next national ballot is going to be held: closed slates, open slates, provincial slates, or a single national slate.

A new election law is supposed to be tabled on the parliament’s floor but it remains to be seen whether coalitions will coalesce before that happens, thus shaping the final outcome of the bill, or whether the law will take shape, and in light of its content coalitions, will come together in a way that best take advantage of it.
Continue reading

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the departure of U.S. troops from the remaining Iraqi cities and towns.

-Abu Omar al-Baghdadi issued his eighteenth speech a little over a week ago. I’ll get around to it at some point.

-I had an interesting time in Kirkuk, and I thought that I’d write about it. But I think a better study of the situation there would encompass the towns and villages around the city that are an essential part of the story. Since I didn’t get the chance to do any serious traveling in the area, I’ll save the post for another time.

-I was interviewed for Aljazeera International from Suleimaniya. Here’s the Youtube of it:


Anonymous amagi said...


Excellent! Your reports make my day. English language reporting in Iraq (or ON Iraq, for that matter) has dwindled to near zilch, with the exception of a daily casualty tally and the odd man-on-the-street interview which rarely elucidates anything further.

What I'm wondering right now is if your conception of Maliki has changed at all in the past two years... I know you tend to think of him as someone out of his depth, but despite all that he's still in the PM seat.

Furthermore, every now and again I hear that Baghdad and Kurdistan are a hair's breadth from pitched warfare over Kirkuk (which seems to me incredibly unlikely at this juncture); so I'm wondering what you see as the possible/likely outcomes for powersharing or what have you... I'm wondering what a compromise would look like that would make everyone happy (or equally displeased, but grudgingly resigned).

10:31 AM, July 17, 2009

Anonymous gj said...

Hi Nibras. I'd be interested to know how the Sunni Arab parties might be shaping up alliance-wise?

For eg - Sawah and the Awakenings plus those independents who won Ninewah would be a potentially powerful bloc in the proportional representative electoral system?

cheers gj

3:12 PM, July 25, 2009

Anonymous gj said...

Meant Abu Risha's sahwa and Mutlaq's neo baath, of course? Plus the Ninewah dudes. (It's early in morning here in OZ)

ps you should aim to look abit more cheerful for the camera now you are becoming an Al Jazeera trustie!btw when is AJ going to have you on advising the Saudis about democracy?

3:41 PM, July 25, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Peter Harling sounds very knowledgeable-and quite impartial! You guys should look into hiring him at Hudson!

2:54 AM, July 27, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

(It's early in morning here in OZ)

You know, I really hate Australians. Do you have any plans of going to Jakarta by chance? I'm a big fan of Noordin M Top's work.

12:02 AM, July 30, 2009

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