The Iraqi government right now is facing so many hardships in the last few months of its age until the elections come. And while the officials are trying hard to prove their administrative and functional control over government institutions, challenges are escalating which render the government almost paralyzed between old and new problems and upcoming challenges represented mainly by the success of the constitution in the October referendum.
It’s noticeable now that people inside the government seem more concerned about internal conflicts than they are about real major concerns like securing the country; the arguments and so visible between the parties involved in the alliance that has proven to be brittle and probably the Kurdish-Sheat dispute that surfaced lately was more like a result of the building differences resulting from fighting over power and influence in the government.
The two memorandums sent recently from the Kurdish leaders to the PM Jafari were-despite their demanding nature-were an attempt to get over the dispute but the memorandums were totally ignored and that made the Kurds so pissed off to the extent that Talbani Asked Jafari to step down!
The dispute exploded when violent clashes erupted between the guards of president Talbani and those of PM Jafari over a presidential palace that American troops decided to evacuate a few days ago, of course the news weren’t reported in the local media but it circulated in the streets.
It seems that we’re standing before a situation that made the involved parties feel ashamed of the dispute that descended to the level of fighting over a house more or less and this resulted in loss of trust and confidence in the current government and for the first time we see Jafari on TV looking so embarrassed when asked about details of the incident and his answers were tense and diplomatically unacceptable especially when he said ”I do not have the time to respond to personal claims such as these..” in reference to Talbani’s accusations to Jafari of having violated his authorities.
It looks clear now that the export-the-crisis is still considered a valid policy for Iraqi politicians and that’s in my opinion why interior minister Bayan Jebor made his inflammatory statement against the Saudi foreign minister so that they shifted attention away from the Kurdish-Sheat conflict.
As a matter of fact, Jebor’s statement was welcomed by some Iraqis who to whom this statement came as some sort of “anger relief” against the negative attitudes of Arab countries and maybe his most influential and controversial line was “A Bedouin on a camel cannot teach us democracy and human rights…” and “let Saudi women be allowed to drive cars first before Saudis can talk about Iraq’s internal affairs…”.
These lines have become common in daily conversations among Iraqis (in refusal more than applause) but at least here in Baghdad and the south some seem to like it, however I don’t think they were met with the same enthusiasm in the western and northern regions where Jebor is thought of as nothing but an agent for Iran and people over there do not see him qualified or fit for a sensitive post like the interior ministry. Let alone that comments like Jebor’s reminded many Iraqis of the way Saddam and his aides talked to others, one famous example happened in early 2003 when Ezzat Douri siad “God curse your moustache” to the Kuwaiti foreign minister in an Arab League summit.
There are even rumors circulating in the Sunni areas that Jebor came to office in a mission to eliminate Sunni scientists, clerics and figures and while these are rumors far from being confirmed they show how Jebor is viewed by a considerable segment of the people.
As a response and an attempt to attack Jebor rather than to please the Saudis, Hoshyar Zibari said that Jebor’s statements were “regretful and inappropriate” and he apologized to the Saudi minister for Jebor’s words.
Right now most Iraqis are looking forward to a new government with greater hopes since it’s going to be there for whole four years and this shall give people the impression that we have the time to improve the situation and would be telling the terrorists that “we’re here for four years and you’ve got to realize that we’re ready for a long battle, are you ready for such a long battle too?”.
Electing a new government for a four year term in which the Sunni will probably be fairly represented would be a powerful strike to those who believe in violence and these will find themselves facing a more legitimate government that cannot be easily discredited and they will also lose the pretext of fighting to defend the “oppressed” Sunni who are preparing very well for entering the elections.
In the January elections we had 111 competing parties and alliances but this time the number has greatly increased to around 190 and it is encouraging to know hat most of the new 80 registered parties come from regions of Sunni majority.
The pointers now give an advantage to Allawi’s new alliance over other alliances because of the increased Sunni inclination to join him, while other blocs like the Sheat alliance has witnessed at least one crack in its lines when Dr. Ali Al-Dabbagh who is so close to Sistani’s office and a former spokesman of the alliance announced his departure and the formation of a new party of his own.
This comes while Chalabi is trying to keep the different parts of the bloc together but he doesn’t seem to be making big successes since the poor performance of the government will force a change in the for and strategies of the alliance.
Actually the entire scene changed when the Sunni entered the arena and even the Kurds who had a strong political establishment began to modify their ways and are now trying to convince Arabs to join them to guarantee a percentage of the parliament seats that preserves balance in the after the new elections; so far the National Democratic Party of the former GC member Naseer Chaderchi (after it was thought that he joined Allawi) have joined the Kurdish alliance together with the Qasimi movement, the Iraqi Communist Party and the Arabic Socialist movement.
The feeling that the road is going to be rough and costly is growing but hope isn’t lost though and I have seen this clear in the eyes of an Iraqi who talked on TV, this man lost two brothers in the Balad massacre a few days ago yet he said “freedom isn’t for free”.