Iraq's Post-Withdrawal Crisis, Update 18
April 14, 2012- April 20, 2012
Iraqiyya, Kurds Consider Vote to Unseat Maliki
Iraqiyya leader Ayad Allawi signaled last week that parliamentary coalitions are coming into fruition for the purpose of containing and confronting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s authoritative behavior. The Kurdish Alliance and Iraqiyya have reportedly begun discussing a no-confidence vote to unseat Maliki, who leads the State of Law coalition. According to an unnamed source interviewed by the Kurdish press, an agreement between the Kurds, Iraqiyya, and Sadrists would nominate Qusay al-Suhail, a Sadrist and one of the two deputy speakers of parliament, to replace Maliki. A Sadrist delegation is reportedly planning to travel to the Kurdish region soon to decide on the proposal. Meanwhile, Shi’a politicians believe the initiative lacks the 163 votes required to withdraw confidence in the prime minister. Khalid Attiyah, the deputy chairman of the Shi’a National Alliance, believed the calls for replacing Maliki were “unrealistic” demands, and Sadrist lawmaker Hakim al-Zamili insisted that the Shi’a parties still support Maliki for the premiership.
Barzani To Istanbul, Maliki To Tehran
Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani traveled to Istanbul and met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on April 19. Barzani also met with Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who was charged by Baghdad authorities last December for allegedly supporting terrorism acts and arrived in Istanbul nearly two weeks ago. Following the meeting with Barzani, Erdogan renewed his criticisms of Maliki, who he accused of encouraging sectarian tensions. Hashemi and Barzani reportedly spoke about withdrawing confidence from the prime minister and the appropriate time for Hashemi to return to the Kurdish region, where he had been residing since he was charged. One proposal some Kurdish officials mentioned, according to Hashemi, would be to delay his trip back until after President Jalal Talabani, Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, and Maliki meet.
Meanwhile, according to media advisor Ali al-Musawi, Maliki will head a delegation to Tehran on Sunday, April 22 at the invitation of Iran.
Parliament Extends IHEC Mandate
Just four days after Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) chief Faraj al-Haidari and commissioner Karim al-Tamami were released last Sunday on bail, Parliament voted to extend IHEC’s mandate. The majority of the 197 MPs present voted on April 19 to extend the current board’s tenure for an additional three months or until a new board is appointed. The decision to extend beyond the April deadline went against Maliki’s desires. Because the makeup of IHEC’s current membership was composed at a time when other parties dominated Iraq’s political scene, Maliki wants to make sure a new board is in place before provincial elections, currently scheduled for early 2013, take place. Last summer, the prime minister tried to terminate the current IHEC board by a parliamentary vote, but he was unsuccessful.
Arbil Agreement Promised To Nujaifi
Speaker Nujaifi announced on April 16 that he had received a letter from the National Alliance that assured the Shi’a coalition’s commitment to completely implement the articles of the Arbil Agreements. In a statement Vice President Khudair Kuzai’s office issued after he met with Nujaifi, Kuzai stated that there will be preparatory meetings conducted soon as part of efforts to hold the National Conference, a-U.S. backed initiative launched by Talabani to resolve disputes between Iraqiyya and Maliki’s State of Law coalition. Originally slated for February, the conference was most scheduled for April 5, but it was delayed due to a lack of consensus on what the conference’s agenda wound entail.
For a comprehensive look at the first two months since U.S. troops left Iraq, read Ramzy Mardini's backgrounder, " Iraq's Recurring Political Crisis." To read a transcript from the Feb. 29 event "Policing Iraq," click here, and to read a transcript from the Feb. 16 event "Iraq After the U.S. Withdrawal," click here. To read past weekly updates, click here.