Iraqi Governing Coalition Set to Collapse

BY Herschel Smith
13 years, 6 months ago

In Sistani, Maliki and Sadr Versus the U.S., I made the case that Maliki was in the pocket of both Sistani and Sadr, and had effectively become nothing more than a sectarian political puppet (while also pointing out that all three were enemies of U.S. interests).  The degree to which this is true is becoming increasingly manifested with time.  Now from MEMRI we learn that “An investigative article by journalist Mahdi Mustafa, published March 31, 2007 in the Egyptian government weekly Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, featured photographs of documents indicating that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has ties with Muqtada Al-Sadr and with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.”  The following is a summary of one important document.

Al-Maliki Calls to Withdraw Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commanders from the Iraqi Front in Order to Protect Them

The first document, labeled “secret, personal, and urgent,” is a January 2007 letter from Al-Maliki’s office to the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, with copies to the presidency of the [Shi’ite party] Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and to the Al-Shahid Al-Sadr organization.” [2] In it, Al-Maliki requests that the commanders of the Mahdi Army, who have ties with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, be pulled off the Iraqi frontlines, in order to protect them from being arrested or killed. The following is a translation of the document:

“Secret, Personal and Urgent

“Based on a phone conversation with Sayyid Muqtada Al-Sadr and [after] consulting with [Iraq’s National Security Advisor] Dr. Muwafaq Al-Rubai’i, in order to preserve our great achievements and in light of what the present circumstances demand, we ask to temporarily conceal the commanders of the Mahdi Army, who are connected to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, [and to remove them] from the front line [of battle] in order to protect them from being arrested or killed by the American forces. [The names of the commanders] are listed below. It would be best to send them to Iran for the time being, until the crisis passes.

“In addition, [we ask] to send the commanders from the second line [of battle] to the southern regions, since we know that intensive efforts are underway to persuade the Americans to leave the situation [there] as it is. All administrative and security arrangements for the transportation of these commanders have [already] been made.

“We ask you to implement [these orders] and report to us.

“[Signed,] Nouri Al-Maliki, Prime Minster [of Iraq]

“[List of commanders]…

“Cc:

“The Iranian Embassy [in] Baghdad,

“The presidency of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq,

“The office of Al-Shahid Al-Sadr.”

Maliki has worked directly against not only U.S. interests in Iraq, but Iraqi security as well.  The Sunni minority has been reluctant to enjoin the political process simply because they know that the government is riddled with sectarian power plays.  Not surprisingly, they are threatening to withdraw, thus seriously weakening the government and ending what little reconciliation effort there has been thus far (what little effort that has been expended has been on the part of the Sunnis).

Iraq’s top Sunni official has set a deadline of next week for pulling his entire bloc out of the government — a potentially devastating blow to reconciliation efforts within Iraq. He also said he turned down an offer by President Bush to visit Washington until he can count more fully on U.S. help.

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi made his comments in an interview with CNN. He said if key amendments to the Iraq Constitution are not made by May 15, he will step down and pull his 44 Sunni politicians out of the 275-member Iraqi parliament.

“If the constitution is not subject to major changes, definitely, I will tell my constituency frankly that I have made the mistake of my life when I put my endorsement to that national accord,” he said.

I had previously said that “Maliki’s government is dead, and the real question is how clever the military and political thinkers are and how quickly they will figure it out.”  The U.S. has so far refused to support replacement of Maliki.

It has been reported earlier that the Kurdish parties and the Fadhila party had not agreed to join the Allawi bloc, but the withdrawal of support from the Tawafuq Front would set Allawi’s efforts back to square one. The alliance of Allawi’s list and the Tawafuq Front, the largest Sunni bloc in the Parliament, was expected to be the core of the new opposition front.

The admission of a lack of American support for the efforts, if proven to be true, would also dispel suspicions that the US had decided to back Allawi’s attempt to bring down the Maliki government and replace it with a “strongman

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This article is filed under the category(s) Iraq and was published May 8th, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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