Power Consolidation in Iraq

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Next week, Maliki's government will assume control of the Sons of Iraq (SOI) program in Baghdad. Iraq's Shi'a-led government has long viewed the SOI movement, whose roots are in the Sunni-dominant Al-Anbar province, with anxiety and suspicion. As this transfer approaches, many are apprehensive as to the government's plans for these local security forces and wonder what the future holds for them under Iraqi government control. Additionally, with provincial elections fast approaching, Iraq's competing political factions are consolidating their power in order to pursue their various political objectives.


This growing trend is evidenced by the recent events in Diyala province which are described in depth by ISW research analyst Claire Russo in her new Backgrounder, The Maliki Government Confronts Diyala. This political maneuvering will only intensify in the weeks ahead and, as the elections draw closer, the presence of Coalition Forces will be all the more critical as they serve to curb the most extreme measures that might be taken by these competing interests and to solidify the gains made during the Surge.


<h6>U.S. Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the commander of Multi-National Force - Iraq, tours a market in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, Iraq, Sept. 18, 2008. (DoD photo by Tech. Sgt. Cohen A. Young, U.S. Air Force/Released).</h6>
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