Sunday, January 01, 2006

Jafari's path cleared for role of PM?

Happy new year everyone!

The following is from

"The leadership of SCIRI has concluded, according to al-Hayat's source, that the United Iraqi Alliance will direct the Iraqi government for the next four years. This prospect requires a "Political Overseer" to ride herd on all factions, within the UIA as well as without, and to resolve the big issues. SCIRI believes that its leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, is best suited to head the bloc and to play this role, such that he would be considered the one to take on the "political" process. If al-Hakim were to be given this role, he would drop the candidacy of SCIRI figure Adel Abdul Mahdi for the post of prime minister, allowing it to go to Jaafari of the Dawa Party."

^^^If this turns out to be true, it would confirm what i have been predicting for months, which is that Jafari would remain as PM. He was chosen to be PM after the January 30th elections of last year as he was simply the only one qualified enough, not to mention clean enough, to be the Prime Minister. 2005 didn't see anyone new emerging as a significant force, and so I didn't envisage the UIA changing course. Jafari has had an interesting 9 months or so in the job, and now he can go into his 4 year stint as PM that much more confident of what is to be expected. Call it 'work experience'!

"The language used here, "marja`iyyah siyasiyyah," makes an analogy from the political role of the Overseer to the role of Sistani as the spiritual overseer of the Shiites. I'm not sure what is being envisaged. Is it a role similar to the Chief Whip of the ruling party in the British lower house of parliament? Or, more ominously, is it patterned more on the part played by Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei in the Iranian system? Significantly, many Shiites in Pakistan, e.g., say that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is their spiritual authority (marja`), but that Khamenei is their political marja`. It is an extra-constitutional office that is being proposed, but then I suppose that so is that of Chief Whip in Britain."

^^ I would imagine that if Hakim was to "ride herd" over other political factions, then this would strike me as similar to the Chief Whip in the UK Parliament, who is almost literally meant to whip dissenting MP's into line. In fact I wouldn't mind seeing Moqtada Sadr in this role, as i think he is able to reach across the political spectrum more effectively than Hakim.


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