Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The new government...awaiting the UIA to resolve thier internal conflict.

It seems that serious negotiations among the winning blocs are yet to begin, at least this is what Iraq's political leaders are saying.
And despite the fact that Barazani came from Kurdistan to Baghdad to attend an extended meeting for all the parliamentary powers at the HQ of the SCIRI, real negotiations haven't started yet and this meeting can be considered a warm-up for the next round of talks.

Spokesman for president Talabani, Kamran Qaradaghi told al-Mashriq during a press conference yesterday that technical reasons are behind the delay, including that they are "still waiting for the results to be certified and also waiting for the UIA to announce their candidate for the PM position".
Qaradaghi also confirmed that there will be no constitutional vacuum in Iraq since the TAL is still considered valid and also because the Supreme Court has extended the mission of the interim government.

He also mentioned that the alliance of the Kurds with the UIA is likely to continue to exist in the new parliament.

Fouad Ma'soum is another prominent Kurdish politician who said that the Kurds prefer to wait until the UIA declare their candidate for the PM post and until the final results are certified before they enter any decisive negotiations with any of the other blocs and said that current talks are only for discussing generalities, not details.

The report published on al-Mada this morning pointed out that there were preliminary talks between Barazani, Talabani and Allawi in Erbil, and the meeting that was described as "important" was also attended by the American and British ambassadors.

Al-Mada reported that sources from inside the UIA told the paper that they are expecting a near agreement on nominating Aadil AbdulMahdi. But Hussein al-Shahristani, the independent member of the UIA said that he is still planning to run for office.

As a mater of fact it seems that the UIA is internally divided over this subject and it's worth mentioning that the internal charter of the UIA states that the leader of the bloc and the PM cannot be from the same component of the UIA which means that if AbdulMahdi become the PM, al-Hakeem cannot keep the leadership of the UIA since they're both from the SCIRI.

Actually it appears that an agreement has not been reached yet, on the contrary, the dispute is entering a critical stage and threatening the unity of the UIA.

Al-Hurra TV today quoted sources from the SCIRI who denied the reports that al-Hakeem is going to leave the leadership of the UIA as part of a deal to get the support of the UIA for AbdulMahdi's nomination.
Al-Hakeem himself appeared on al-Hurra today and said that the SCIRI still insists on nominating AbdulMahdi.
Also in this regard, Jafari's al-Bayina paper wrote today that al-Hakeem informed the Da'wa Party that he is willing to give them the leadership of the UIA in exchange for the PM post.

Now it is in al-Hakkem's hands to decide what to do with the UIA, by insisting on nominating AbdulMahdi and keeping his position as a leader for the bloc he is endangering the unity of his bloc especially that it is unlikely that the Da'wa and Fadheela parties will let the SCIRI get both posts.

The mysterious and interesting politician of the week was Salih al-Mutlaq who has 11 seats in the parliament. There have been contradicting reports on whether or not he is going to be part of the "United Congress for National Work" which is the name of the political body formed by the Maram powers.
According to al-Mashriq, the formal announcement of forming this new political body stressed that this new power is not aimed against any particular party and that "the door is open for everyone to join us".

One spokesman of the Accord Front included al-Mutlaq when speaking of the new body while another said that the new body consists of only the Accord Front and the Iraqi list.
Al-Mutlaq himself has been giving foggy statements about where he's standing now; he even told the media here that he is willing to ally with the UIA and especially the Sadr trend!
More interesting, the Sadrists themselves gave contradicting responses to al-Mutlaq's offer.
Some observers here think that al-Mutlaq's proposition to the UIA is actually a decoy planned to distract the UIA's attention from the actual plans of the secular and Sunni parties especially that there's a growing feeling among the public here that the Sunni and secular blocs are brewing an alliance with the Kurds (and probably the Fadheela Party too) to form the government on their own and depose the UIA.
This feeling is being fueled by statements such as the Accord Front's Dhafir al-Aani's latest controversial statement which was published on al-Sabah; al-Aani said that "the political map in Iraq is going to witness a dramatic change and the new bloc formed by the Accord Front and Iraqi list is expected to grow bigger than any other individual parliamentary bloc when another big bloc joins us".

Anyway, it seems that the SCIRI and Da'wa do have a bad feeling about the Fadheela. Today in its Op-Ed, al-Bayina paper of the Da'wa directed harsh criticism at Fadheela's leader al-Jabiri and accused him of glorifying the insurgency and of becoming al-Mutlaq's new friend and the author demanded an apology from al-Jabiri who was nearly called a traitor. I believe this language is not normally used among partners in the same bloc!

Aside from the politics fever, Iraq is facing another great challenge; bird flu is standing at the borders now after at least two deaths have been confirmed in Kurdistan.

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