Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Iraqi PM Maliki is definitely in some trouble. The major Iranian-backed Shiite parties that propelled him into power three years ago formed a new political alliance and dumped him yesterday as their candidate for re-election for the January 2010 election.
The new bloc, the Iraqi National Alliance, is led by the largest Shiite party, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, and a bloc loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Both have close ties to the mullahs in Iran.
The new bloc replaces the Shiite alliance that won the last election in December 2005, taking most of the places in the in the 275-seat legislature.
Maliki has been juggling their support and the support of the Sunni parties for quite some time, and it was only a matter of time until the tribal brinkmanship toppled.
Al-Maliki now has some interesting choices to make. His own Dawa party is fairly small and doesn't give him much of a loyal political base. He can either try to make a deal with minority Sunni parties or even the Kurds to strengthen his position, but that risks peeling off even more Shiites from his supporters.Or he can try moving more towards a hard line Shiite pro-Iran position in hopes of pulling enough votes to cobble together a coalition.
Maliki was counting on his reputation as a strong leader to win re-election, based on his defeating al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia and keeping order in Baghdad.
That reputation took a major blow from the wave of horrific bombings and violence that occurred once US forces pulled out of Iraq's cities.
If Maliki is tossed out of office in January, the US would be faced with an increasingly hostile pro-Iranian regime in Iraq as we withdraw. The final US withdrawal is scheduled for 2011, but the Iraqis will vote in a referendum before then whether to request an earlier US withdrawal.
On the other hand, if he wins by pandering to the Shiite pro-Iran voters, the result will be pretty much the same.
Posted by Freedom Fighter at 2:20 PM