Monday, April 03, 2006

Endgame for Jafari.

Chances for a peaceful resolution of the current political crisis are getting thinner as some of the involved parties keep refusing to show any flexibility in handling the talks with other powers.

This originates from the fact that the differences between those rivals come mostly from sectarian and/or ethnic basis and not from disagreeing on this or that platform; the idea filling their heads is the ideological difference between the Sunni and the Shia. Actually this had become visible in the statements made by those parties, we hear them say 'our territories are under threat' or 'my sect is under attack' to the extent that speaking of Iraq as a whole has become a formality not fit for local consumption.
And I think this makes reaching a solution in a peaceful way very unlikely at this stage because the two sects were built on a fight over power in the first place and every turban whether 'white' or 'black' can't stop thinking of that thousand year old difference and they think that any accordance between them will essentially mean no more power for turbans.

I have learned that politics is 'the art of the possible' and the 'art of finding solutions' but most of these men here are not politicians in the first place and they would not shy from threatening with the power they possess to impose their view on others, and I must point out here that 'power' here does not mean votes, electoral weight or the advantage of one's platform over others' but rather the power of armed militias that answer to those parties.

Politicians within these blocs will not be able to leash the angry turbans; most of them do not have the power or the guts to do so, and even if one of them decided to oppose the turbans, he will make a legitimate target of himself for the wrath of the clerics and their militias.
The situation today looks more congested and tenser and new statements are coming by the hours now, not by the days for the seriousness of the case.

As we expected a couple of days ago, more public calls are coming from inside the UIA asking Jafari to step down and more UIA members have added their voices to Mr. Dawood's voice trying to convince Jafari to change his mind and accept the necessities of this stage, namely JalalAddin al-Sagheer from the UIA and a few senior members of the Fadheela Party.
The pressure is mounting from outside as well as we can clearly see from Rice's and Straw's visit to Baghdad whose words carry a strong message that says 'Enough is enough Jafari'. Although Jafari was not addressed in name it was clear there is now way the UK or US will accept him. The couple said their countries wish Iraq chooses a strong leader who can lead a unity government and be accepted by all the Iraqi parties and I believe neither is a quality of Jafari.
I also want to say that I rally am pleased with secretaries' words when they said:

Indeed, the international partners, particularly the United States and Great Britain and others who have forces on the ground and have sacrificed here, have a deep desire and, I think, a right to expect that this process will keep moving forward.

Although these words came a little late but late is better than never and I hope the Iraqi leaders understand this message, our destinies are tied together and what happens in Iraq will not be limited to this land but will have effects on the rest of the Middle East and I think some firm remarks said in the right tone can be enough to make the political and religious peacocks realize their actual size.

On the other hand it seems that the radical elements have made up their mind to enter yet another confrontation, after putting redlines on some blocs and rejecting any discussion concerning replacing Jafari, today according to al-Arabiya TV, the Sadrists have issued a warning saying they will withdraw from the political process if Jafari is replaced by another candidate.
By doing this, they are even opposing the majority opinion of the UIA as it's been made public that major powers inside the bloc gave Jafari a 3-day deadline as a last chance for him to try to convince the other blocs with his program and win their acceptance, otherwise he must step down.

Of course this doesn't mean the Sadrists will withdraw to sit at home and watch others form a government but it means they will fight those who oppose their vision.
In fact lately I've been hearing some Sdar followers say they predict a large-scale offensive to target Sadr city and the Mehdi Army soon and that the ranks of the Mehdi Army are kept at full alert to respond to any such offensive.

The situation at this point can be summed by the following:

There is a majority of politicians from various trends who want to avoid a confrontation and willing to reach a deal to form a government; those are not working hard enough though.

On the other side there are militias supported by some parties within their corresponding blocs who think they can enter an armed conflict against the rest and come out victorious.

Politicians recognize the great price that everyone will have to pay if such a terrible possibility becomes reality, there will be no winners in this conflict and every involved party will have to shoulder a share of the losses, the shares may vary though.

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