Friday, March 26, 2010

Allawi Bloc Upsets Maliki In Iraqi Elections

It appears that the results from the Iraqi election are finally in,and that Ayad Allawi's Secular Shiite/Sunni alliance has narrowly won a victory over Nouri al-Maliki's coalition:

The upset threatens to end the lock on power that Iraq's majority Shiites have enjoyed since the 2003 after decades of oppression under Saddam Hussein and could severely test the country's fragile institutions. Before the announcement, Shiite politicians warned of violence should their parties lose the election.

The preliminary results announced Friday night show Mr. Allawi's Iraqiya bloc winning 91 seats in the 325-member parliament to 89 seats for Mr. Maliki's State of Law.

Maliki has called for a recount, and was quite adamant about not accepting the results due to 'fraud' but Iraq's election commission ruled out holding a manual recount of all the votes cast, and a slew of UN observers pronounced the election fair.

Here's what the final total looks like:

Allawi: 91
Maliki: 89
Hakim and Moqtada al-Sadr's Iraqi National Alliance:70
PUK+KDP (The Kurds):=43
Change (Kurdish Goran Party): 8
Tawafok (Accord): 6
Iraq Unity (Bolani): 4
Islamic Union (Kurdish): 4
Islamic Group (Kurdish): 2
Minorities: 8

Total: 325

In order to govern, Allawi will need 163 seats. He'll have 30 days to try and form the next Iraqi government. If he fails, President Jalal Talabani( a Kurd) will have to ask the leader of another political bloc to try and form a government.

So, the all important question..where is this likely going and what does this mean from a regional and a US standpoint?

The first possibility is that Allawi and Maliki will attempt to form an Iraqi unity government and divvy up the spoils. This would involve an ego adjustment for Maliki,but I put the odds at about 50-50. In that case,the Sunnis involved with Allawi's coalition would doubtless require certain assurances, and al-Sadr's people would continue to foment as a Lebanon-style pro-Iran faction. The US withdrawal will continue on schedule and the big losers will be the Kurds, who will be almost totally marginalized.

The other possibility would be for either Allawi or Maliki to cut a deal with Al-Sadr's bloc and add one of the small parties,and that a sword that cuts two ways. The Sunnis in Allawi's coalition would be extremely wary of being part of a government with al-Sadr's pro-Iran Shiite faction, but on the other hand, al-Sadr's group already pulled out of Maliki's government and there are what you might call personal issues at play, although these might be able to be worked out. Also, Maliki knows that the US is on it's way out and thus might be more amenable to cutting a deal with al-Sadr.

If al-Sadr's bloc is part of the government, expect calls for a faster US pullout as Iran flexes its muscles in an attempt to Lebanonize Iraq.

Stay tuned...

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1 comment:

B.Poster said...

Regardless what happens the US is leaving. More than likely the US is the biggest loser in all of this regardless what happens. Whether they are Shiates or Sunnis they are bitter enemies of America and will stop at nothing to harm its interests. This includes all interests be they "just" interests or "unjust" interests. As for the Kurds, after the US betrayed them I don't expect them to be willing to do much to assist America even if they could.

Perhaps there is another possiblity. I don't expect Sunnis or Shia to be able to agree on much. We may have an Iraqi Civil War. In this case, two bitter enemies of America can fight among themselves and tear each other apart. Perhaps that can be good for us. Unfortunately we will have no control over the out come.

The US figures to be a minor player in world affairs at best. That is assuming the Russians and the Chinese allow it survive at all.