Guest Aloysius Posted December 27, 2008 Report Share Posted December 27, 2008 Iraq Unsettled by Political Power Plays By ALISSA J. RUBIN Published: December 25, 2008 With provincial elections scheduled for the end of January, Iraq appears to be plagued by political troubles that seem closer to Shakespearean drama than to nascent democracy. There is talk of a coup to oust the prime minister. The speaker of the Parliament has abruptly resigned, making angry accusations on his way out the door. And there have been sweeping arrests of people believed to be conspiring against the government, both in Baghdad and Diyala Province. Beneath the swirl of accusations and rumors is a power play in which different factions within the government — and some outside it — are struggling to gain ground as American influence in the country wanes and elections approach that could begin to reshape the political landscape here. The real struggle is for the country’s identity: how much the government will be controlled from Baghdad and how much from the provinces, who will hold power and who will have to give it up. The American mantra has been that Iraq remains “fragile” — to use the words of Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker and Gen. David H. Petraeus. On the political front that seems especially true. The one source of political unity recently has been frustration with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who has been making arrests and using tribes in the provinces to set up personal power bases. His rivals, conscious of Iraq’s long history of dictatorship, are crying foul. “Maliki is monopolizing all the political, security and economic decisions,” said Omar Abdul Sattar, a Sunni member of Parliament. He listed political parties that he said were turning against the prime minister, including a powerful Shiite party, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, which is fighting Mr. Maliki’s drive to centralize power in Baghdad and pushing to give more to the provinces — where the party has important power bases, particularly in the south. “It’s simply the story of the transformation from a democratic prime minister into a dictator,” he said. You can read the rest of the article here. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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