ISW Releases Timely Report: Iraq Report #14 - Balancing Maliki

Printer-friendly version

Contact: Megan Ortagus
(863) 398-8164
June 30, 2009

Report examines the shifting political dynamics in Iraq’s Parliament and the limitations of Maliki’s power while U.S. forces withdraw from major cities.

Washington, D.C. - The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) today released the latest issue in its Iraq Report series,Iraq Report 14:  Balancing Maliki - Shifting Coalitions in the Iraqi Politics and the Rise of the Iraqi Parliament, written by Marisa Cochrane and Jeremy Domergue. This timely research details the vacillating allegiances among Iraq's political parties and maneuvering inside Parliament. Discussions also include Prime Minister Maliki's posturing for the 2010 elections and Iran's continuing influence.

Iraq Report 14: Balancing Maliki – Shifting Coalitions in the Iraqi Politics and the Rise of the Iraqi Parliament can be found at:

"The political dynamics we see unfolding in Baghdad are traditional power struggles in an emerging democracy,"explained ISW Research Manager Marisa Cochrane. "The looming Parliamentary elections, taking place next January, have caused many to rethink their alliances as Prime Minister Maliki continues to make aggressive power plays that would ensure his reelection."

Key findings from this report include:

  • Maliki may begin to challenge the idea of ethnic and sectarian distribution of offices after the 2010 election, as he had attempted in the wake of the 2009 provincial elections. If he does not distribute offices to Sunni and Kurds, as well as other Shi’a parties, he will marginalize these groups within Iraqi national politics - potentially leading to violence.
  • Maliki is likely to seek control of the speakership of the parliament in 2010, as the body is the most effective check on his authority. A test case about the future of the Sunni in Iraqi politics therefore lies in who is chosen to be Speaker of the Parliament in 2010. This selection will also indicate whether the office of the prime minister is likely to grow more powerful - and perhaps even anti-democratic - in the future.

Iraq Report #14 also contains numerous reference materials including a timeline of key political events from November 2008 to May 2009 and detailed charts of the shifts in Parliamentary alliances from Mid-2008 to April 2009.

View key Iraq statistics here:

Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution whose goal is to educate current and future decision makers and thereby enhance the quality of policy debates. The Institute's work is addressed to government officials and legislators, teachers and students, business executives, professionals, journalists, and all citizens interested in a serious understanding of war and government