Critical Moments in Iraq

 Various politicians in Iraq are attempting to alter the results of the parliamentary elections either through manual ballot recounts or by disqualifying candidates after voters have already been cast. The manual recount of votes commenced on Monday in Baghdad. The Accountability and Justice Commission (AJC), at the urging of Prime Minister Maliki, had 52 candidates “retroactively disqualified” claiming they had ties to Saddam’s Baath party.


ISW President Kim Kagan co-authored an opinion editorial in the Washington Post noting th candidate disqualification is , “… surely disastrous for U.S. interests – [and] would position Maliki as a potential authoritarian ruler, empower the anti-American Sadrists and their Iranian-backed militias and alienate Sunnis while marginalizing the Kurds. If Sunni seats are transferred to Maliki's Shiite list this way, Sunni Arabs would justifiably feel that Shiites had stolen the election.”
In other news, if you missed Carl Forsberg’s presentation on Politics and Power in Kandahar, you can still watch the event on ISW’s website.  Carl outlined some of his key findings on Kandahar including:

-Kandahar's political and economic life is dominated by several commercial and military networks. Ahmed Wali Karzai is at the center of a number of these networks, and has considerable influence over business life in Kandahar City itself, with significant private security, real estate, and contracting interests.


-Ahmed Wali Karzai has used his informal power and his connections to the Afghan state to give him shadow ownership of the government of Kandahar.


-Anti-government sentiments are exploited and aggravated by the Taliban. Many of the local powerbrokers who are excluded from Wali Karzai’s network see the Taliban insurgency as the only viable means of political opposition.

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