Showing posts tagged as "nouri al maliki"

Showing posts tagged nouri al maliki

25 Jun
How Will Iraq’s New War End? | Joshua Keating
Last September I blogged, in reference to the ongoing war in Syria, about a survey by Dutch political scientists Madeleine Hosli and Anke Hoekstra looking at how civil wars typically end. Generally, it’s not in a negotiated settlement: Between 1945 and 1993, 75 percent of civil wars ended in outright military victory by one side. But certain factors make diplomatic outcomes more likely, and they’re worth considering in light of John Kerry’s new push for Iraqi leaders to form a more inclusive government. Considering precedent, it seems at first that prospects for a negotiated settlement might actually be decent.
Negotiated settlements are more likely in situations of military stalemate. We appear to be approaching something like that in Iraq. Despite their recent gains in the north, where defenses were weak, at the moment it seems most likely, as Kenneth Pollack argues, that ISIS’s advance will be halted north of Baghdad, where it will run into more heavily fortified and more predominantly Shiite areas. Without major U.S. or Iranian military intervention—both of which seem unlikely—Iraqi security forces don’t seem particularly capable of launching a major counteroffensive. In other words, Iraq could be in for a long one.
FULL ARTICLE (Slate)
Photo: jrseles/flickr

How Will Iraq’s New War End? | Joshua Keating

Last September I blogged, in reference to the ongoing war in Syria, about a survey by Dutch political scientists Madeleine Hosli and Anke Hoekstra looking at how civil wars typically end. Generally, it’s not in a negotiated settlement: Between 1945 and 1993, 75 percent of civil wars ended in outright military victory by one side. But certain factors make diplomatic outcomes more likely, and they’re worth considering in light of John Kerry’s new push for Iraqi leaders to form a more inclusive government. Considering precedent, it seems at first that prospects for a negotiated settlement might actually be decent.

Negotiated settlements are more likely in situations of military stalemate. We appear to be approaching something like that in Iraq. Despite their recent gains in the north, where defenses were weak, at the moment it seems most likely, as Kenneth Pollack argues, that ISIS’s advance will be halted north of Baghdad, where it will run into more heavily fortified and more predominantly Shiite areas. Without major U.S. or Iranian military intervention—both of which seem unlikely—Iraqi security forces don’t seem particularly capable of launching a major counteroffensive. In other words, Iraq could be in for a long one.

FULL ARTICLE (Slate)

Photo: jrseles/flickr

23 Jun
Iraq’s House of Cards: The Primary Mission | Robin Wright
On Friday, a new report by the International Crisis Group, an independent research and policy institute, bluntly warned of both the political and military challenges in Iraq. Under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the report declared, “Parliament has been rendered toothless, independent state agencies shorn of their powers. Ministries, to an unprecedented extent, have become bastions of nepotism and other forms of corruption; the severely politicized judiciary represents anything but the ‘rule of law,’ with even the Supreme Court doing the government’s bidding.”
This week, as the jihadi juggernaut solidifies its control over almost a third of the country in a Sunni proto-state, a token American team of Special Forces will embed in Iraq to assess and advise Iraq’s disintegrating military. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry is conferring with regional leaders about ways to prevent a geostrategic prize from imploding into a failed state. He, too, is expected in Baghdad. 
The primary American mission is to help rebuild the house of cards that is the Iraqi government—a political challenge almost as daunting as devising a strategy to beat back the alienated Sunni (and other) forces in the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The goal is to prevent Iraq from becoming another Lebanon, where sectarian tensions over a power-sharing formula dragged on in a fifteen-year civil war (despite repeated American diplomatic interventions and attempts to rebuild the national Army).
FULL ARTICLE (The New Yorker)
Photo: United States Forces-Iraq/flickr

Iraq’s House of Cards: The Primary Mission | Robin Wright

On Friday, a new report by the International Crisis Group, an independent research and policy institute, bluntly warned of both the political and military challenges in Iraq. Under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the report declared, “Parliament has been rendered toothless, independent state agencies shorn of their powers. Ministries, to an unprecedented extent, have become bastions of nepotism and other forms of corruption; the severely politicized judiciary represents anything but the ‘rule of law,’ with even the Supreme Court doing the government’s bidding.”

This week, as the jihadi juggernaut solidifies its control over almost a third of the country in a Sunni proto-state, a token American team of Special Forces will embed in Iraq to assess and advise Iraq’s disintegrating military. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry is conferring with regional leaders about ways to prevent a geostrategic prize from imploding into a failed state. He, too, is expected in Baghdad. 

The primary American mission is to help rebuild the house of cards that is the Iraqi government—a political challenge almost as daunting as devising a strategy to beat back the alienated Sunni (and other) forces in the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The goal is to prevent Iraq from becoming another Lebanon, where sectarian tensions over a power-sharing formula dragged on in a fifteen-year civil war (despite repeated American diplomatic interventions and attempts to rebuild the national Army).

FULL ARTICLE (The New Yorker)

Photo: United States Forces-Iraq/flickr

10 Jan
US should aid Iraq’s Maliki, but conditions must apply | Boston Globe
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki bears much of the blame for the current crisis in Iraq. His decision to arrest Ahmed al-Alwani, a powerful Sunni member of parliament, on Dec. 28 inflamed the Sunni population. Alwani had accused Maliki, a Shiite, of treating Sunnis like second-class citizens and had assembled a crowd of protesters. Maliki’s crackdown, which included a raid on Alwani’s house that killed his brother, caused a predictable backlash. Many Sunni leaders, long disillusioned with Maliki’s rule, called for the central government to be expelled from a Sunni province. Amid the popular anger, Al Qaeda-linked fighters in neighboring Syria saw an opportunity. They streamed into the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi and declared themselves in charge.
FULL ARTICLE (Boston Globe)
Photo: Truth Out/flickr

US should aid Iraq’s Maliki, but conditions must apply | Boston Globe

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki bears much of the blame for the current crisis in Iraq. His decision to arrest Ahmed al-Alwani, a powerful Sunni member of parliament, on Dec. 28 inflamed the Sunni population. Alwani had accused Maliki, a Shiite, of treating Sunnis like second-class citizens and had assembled a crowd of protesters. Maliki’s crackdown, which included a raid on Alwani’s house that killed his brother, caused a predictable backlash. Many Sunni leaders, long disillusioned with Maliki’s rule, called for the central government to be expelled from a Sunni province. Amid the popular anger, Al Qaeda-linked fighters in neighboring Syria saw an opportunity. They streamed into the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi and declared themselves in charge.

FULL ARTICLE (Boston Globe)

Photo: Truth Out/flickr

30 Jul
Déjà Vu All Over Again? Iraq’s Escalating Political Crisis
Baghdad/Erbil/Brussels | 30 Jul 2012
To overcome Iraq’s current political crisis and prevent the breakdown of the entire post-2003 order, Prime Minister Maliki and his opponents both will have to agree to painful compromises.
Déjà Vu All Over Again? Iraq’s Escalating Political Crisis, the latest International Crisis Group report, examines the stalemate two years into Maliki’s second term. He is accused of violating the constitution, amassing power and bringing security forces under his personal control. The latest chapter in Iraq’s political crisis has dangerously heightened tensions and created a political vacuum within which deadly attacks, such as the recent series that killed over a hundred and injured hundreds more, could spark renewed civil war. Political leaders need to return urgently to their original effort to fashion a workable and transparent power-sharing arrangement if Iraq’s drifting ship of state is to be righted.
Maliki has lost the trust of much of the political class. At the same time, the opposition is divided on fundamental issues and on whether to push Maliki to implement the 2010 Erbil power-sharing agreement or remove him altogether. The odds that his opponents can muster enough votes to unseat him are low. Even should they succeed, they are highly unlikely to find common ground to form a new government, leaving Maliki as caretaker premier until the next elections in 2014. In the meantime, the government will find it increasingly difficult to govern and all Iraqis will pay a price.
“There is no question that Maliki has added to his powers during his six-year tenure, but there also can be no question that a large part of his success comes from his rivals’ incapacity to thwart him via institutional means”, says Joost Hiltermann, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director. “Maliki should implement the 2010 power-sharing deal and pledge to step down at the end of his term for the sake of national unity; his rivals should call off efforts to unseat him and instead use their parliamentary strength to build strong state institutions and help ensure that the next elections are free and fair”.
Iraq’s predicament goes far deeper than the unimplemented Erbil understanding or even Maliki’s personality. It is a symptom of the inability to overcome the legacy of Saddam Hussein and his repressive practices: a culture of deep suspicion coupled with a winner-take-all and loser-lose-all form of politics. Because it never produced a fair, agreed-upon distribution of power, territory and resources, the political bargaining that followed the regime’s fall did little to remedy this situation.
This time, political leaders must do more than patch things up and live to fight another day without touching root causes. A quick fix today could mean a comprehensive breakdown tomorrow; elections are looming, and the stakes are higher than ever. Without agreement on rules of the game, Maliki might well cling to power, using various means to determine the electoral outcome in his favour.
“The current crisis is unsustainable but Maliki, his opponents and neighbouring countries in theory share an interest in reducing tensions”, says Robert Malley, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director. “Peaceful change will have to occur through constitution-based political consensus – finally beginning to address what for too long has been ignored”.
FULL REPORT

Déjà Vu All Over Again? Iraq’s Escalating Political Crisis

Baghdad/Erbil/Brussels | 30 Jul 2012

To overcome Iraq’s current political crisis and prevent the breakdown of the entire post-2003 order, Prime Minister Maliki and his opponents both will have to agree to painful compromises.

Déjà Vu All Over Again? Iraq’s Escalating Political Crisis, the latest International Crisis Group report, examines the stalemate two years into Maliki’s second term. He is accused of violating the constitution, amassing power and bringing security forces under his personal control. The latest chapter in Iraq’s political crisis has dangerously heightened tensions and created a political vacuum within which deadly attacks, such as the recent series that killed over a hundred and injured hundreds more, could spark renewed civil war. Political leaders need to return urgently to their original effort to fashion a workable and transparent power-sharing arrangement if Iraq’s drifting ship of state is to be righted.

Maliki has lost the trust of much of the political class. At the same time, the opposition is divided on fundamental issues and on whether to push Maliki to implement the 2010 Erbil power-sharing agreement or remove him altogether. The odds that his opponents can muster enough votes to unseat him are low. Even should they succeed, they are highly unlikely to find common ground to form a new government, leaving Maliki as caretaker premier until the next elections in 2014. In the meantime, the government will find it increasingly difficult to govern and all Iraqis will pay a price.

“There is no question that Maliki has added to his powers during his six-year tenure, but there also can be no question that a large part of his success comes from his rivals’ incapacity to thwart him via institutional means”, says Joost Hiltermann, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director. “Maliki should implement the 2010 power-sharing deal and pledge to step down at the end of his term for the sake of national unity; his rivals should call off efforts to unseat him and instead use their parliamentary strength to build strong state institutions and help ensure that the next elections are free and fair”.

Iraq’s predicament goes far deeper than the unimplemented Erbil understanding or even Maliki’s personality. It is a symptom of the inability to overcome the legacy of Saddam Hussein and his repressive practices: a culture of deep suspicion coupled with a winner-take-all and loser-lose-all form of politics. Because it never produced a fair, agreed-upon distribution of power, territory and resources, the political bargaining that followed the regime’s fall did little to remedy this situation.

This time, political leaders must do more than patch things up and live to fight another day without touching root causes. A quick fix today could mean a comprehensive breakdown tomorrow; elections are looming, and the stakes are higher than ever. Without agreement on rules of the game, Maliki might well cling to power, using various means to determine the electoral outcome in his favour.

“The current crisis is unsustainable but Maliki, his opponents and neighbouring countries in theory share an interest in reducing tensions”, says Robert Malley, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director. “Peaceful change will have to occur through constitution-based political consensus – finally beginning to address what for too long has been ignored”.

FULL REPORT

11 Jun
Embattled Iraqi PM holding on to power for now | AP 
By Karin Laub
Iraq’s embattled prime minister has fought off an attempt to push him out of office, aided by divisions among his opponents and Iranian intervention on his behalf.
Nouri al-Maliki’s tactical victory averts a potentially destabilizing contest to replace him, at least for the time being, but perpetuates the sectarian-based deadlock that has paralyzed the country for years.
In the latest setback for those trying to unseat al-Maliki, the country’s president said Sunday he would not ratify a petition for a no-confidence vote because it lacked the needed number of signatures.
FULL ARTICLE (AP)
Photo: Spc. Kimberly Millett, USA/ Wikimedia Commons

Embattled Iraqi PM holding on to power for now | AP 

By Karin Laub

Iraq’s embattled prime minister has fought off an attempt to push him out of office, aided by divisions among his opponents and Iranian intervention on his behalf.

Nouri al-Maliki’s tactical victory averts a potentially destabilizing contest to replace him, at least for the time being, but perpetuates the sectarian-based deadlock that has paralyzed the country for years.

In the latest setback for those trying to unseat al-Maliki, the country’s president said Sunday he would not ratify a petition for a no-confidence vote because it lacked the needed number of signatures.

FULL ARTICLE (AP)

Photo: Spc. Kimberly Millett, USA/ Wikimedia Commons

8 Jun
Critics say politics tainting trial of Iraqi VP | AP
By Karin Laub
Iraq’s first major trial dealing with the country’s savage Sunni-Shiite sectarian killings is tainted by politics, critics say — an ominous sign for those hoping for justice for tens of thousands of victims of street executions, bombings and kidnappings.
The defendant, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, says charges that he ran Sunni death squads are part of a political vendetta by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite. Al-Hashemi’s nine-member legal team walked out in protest in the second court session late last month, citing judicial bias. And the prosecution’s case relies heavily on the testimony of co-defendants, that the defense claimed was coerced, pointing to one who died in custody.
More broadly, regardless of the merits of the case against al-Hashemi — the highest-ranking Sunni in Iraq’s leadership — the Shiite-dominated government has shown no sign of trying to prosecute those behind Shiite militias behind slayings of Sunnis. Several of those militias were linked to Shiite political parties that are now crucial backers of al-Maliki’s government.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh denied any bias in charging al-Hashemi or that he was singled out, saying the case was strictly a legal matter. “Courts look into the crime itself, not the sectarian background” of the suspect, he said.
However, al-Maliki himself has acknowledged that politics played a role in the timing of the charges against al-Hashemi. The prime minister has said he was aware of incriminating evidence against the vice president three years ago, but didn’t press the case then “for the sake of the political process.”
Prosecutors charged al-Maliki’s often irksome rival only in December, a day after U.S. troops left Iraq, effectively ending the direct influence in Baghdad of the United States, which had pressured Sunnis and Shiites to get along. Al-Hashemi fled before he could be arrested, first to Kurdish-run northern Iraq where he was out of Baghdad’s reach, then abroad.
Iraq remains paralyzed by the sectarian power struggles even if violence has dropped off since the worst bloodshed of 2006 and 2007.
FULL ARTICLE (AP)
Photo: AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File

Critics say politics tainting trial of Iraqi VP | AP

By Karin Laub

Iraq’s first major trial dealing with the country’s savage Sunni-Shiite sectarian killings is tainted by politics, critics say — an ominous sign for those hoping for justice for tens of thousands of victims of street executions, bombings and kidnappings.

The defendant, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, says charges that he ran Sunni death squads are part of a political vendetta by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite. Al-Hashemi’s nine-member legal team walked out in protest in the second court session late last month, citing judicial bias. And the prosecution’s case relies heavily on the testimony of co-defendants, that the defense claimed was coerced, pointing to one who died in custody.

More broadly, regardless of the merits of the case against al-Hashemi — the highest-ranking Sunni in Iraq’s leadership — the Shiite-dominated government has shown no sign of trying to prosecute those behind Shiite militias behind slayings of Sunnis. Several of those militias were linked to Shiite political parties that are now crucial backers of al-Maliki’s government.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh denied any bias in charging al-Hashemi or that he was singled out, saying the case was strictly a legal matter. “Courts look into the crime itself, not the sectarian background” of the suspect, he said.

However, al-Maliki himself has acknowledged that politics played a role in the timing of the charges against al-Hashemi. The prime minister has said he was aware of incriminating evidence against the vice president three years ago, but didn’t press the case then “for the sake of the political process.”

Prosecutors charged al-Maliki’s often irksome rival only in December, a day after U.S. troops left Iraq, effectively ending the direct influence in Baghdad of the United States, which had pressured Sunnis and Shiites to get along. Al-Hashemi fled before he could be arrested, first to Kurdish-run northern Iraq where he was out of Baghdad’s reach, then abroad.

Iraq remains paralyzed by the sectarian power struggles even if violence has dropped off since the worst bloodshed of 2006 and 2007.

FULL ARTICLE (AP)

Photo: AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File