Friday, January 20, 2006

Internal politics of the UIA.

Reidar Visser writes an excellent piece about the Internal divisions within the UIA, and breaks down the actual make up of the co-alition. He cites the Sadrists as the largest bloc, with the main sadrists and fadila combining to make up 36% of the 109 seats already apportioned. Dawa unites with its off-shoots to make up 24% while SCIRI is last with around 19% of the seats.

This is important on many fronts. Firstly it almost guarantees that Ibrahim Jafari, the head of the Dawa Party, will continue as Prime Minister, as the sadrists have already announced that they will support his nomination.

Secondly, as Helena Cobban points out at Just world news, it disspells the myth that many western media outlets have spread that somehow Abdel Aziz Al-Hakim, the head of SCIRI, is Iraq's most powerful man. It's fair to say that should Jafari become PM once more, he will be the most powerful man in Iraq, perhaps more powerful than he has been this last year.

Thirdly, it puts into serious doubt, Hakim's efforts to be 'political overseer' of the UIA. This position that he wanted to award himself, which is not enshrined in any way by the constitution, would have given him the power to dictate much policy of the entire gov't aswel as the UIA. On what basis would he claim his right to take up this role? SCIRI are no longer the biggest party in the UIA, according to the article, and Hakim can do little to challenge Jafari's nomination for PM so his hand is extremely weak. Moqtada Al Sadr has more legitimacy to take up this role, similar to the Chief Whip position in UK politics, and I've argued before that he is more suited to reach across the political spectrum than Hakim could ever wish to be. He has recently declared that he doesn't want to play too dominant a role in Politics and so would probably turn down the position.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the Dawa and Sadr blocs can progress with their attempts to form good relations with the Sunni Islamists, like Adnan Dulaimi and Tariq Al Hashimi. The 2 groups also declared recently that they are against any move towards a break up of the country and could form a strong enough bloc to oppose the proposed plans for federalism, as envisioned by Hakim. Hakim has set about antagonising the Sunni's recently with his comments about pushing ahead with the formation of shia mini states in the south, and he has done so just as progress is being made between the Dulaim tribe in Ramadi and the Jafari Govt. He has also tried to claim that these attempts to form alliances with the sunnis will be fruitless, and will not effect the insurgency. It sounds like he is extremely annoyed at the way things are unfolding and is trying his best to disrupt the course of events which will inevitably lead to him being sidelined.

PS. The religious Kurdish groups have also won 5 seats and this could strengthen any Pan-Islamic bloc, wishing to implement elements of Islamic Laws.

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