Jaafari Decides to Exclude Allawi
Al-Zaman/ Reuters reports that prospective Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari has decided to give up attempting to form a government of national unity that would include the Iraqiya list of outgoing PM Iyad Allawi, which consists in significant part of secularist ex-Baathists. It has been reported that Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani had pressed vehemently for Allawi’s inclusion in the new government. In the end, however, it appears to be the case that an essential difference of opinion has made it impossible. Jaafari and his Dawa Party are determined to purge ex-Baathists from the Interior Ministry, something Allawi was attempting to halt.
Adil Abdul Mahdi, an Iraqi vice president, has been in Washington for the past few days. This report says that US sources have revealed that he has been pressing the White House for permission to give the Ministry of the Interior to the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Abdul Mahdi’s own party). Interior in Iraq is something like the FBI plus Homeland Security. Abdul Mahdi is said to have given the Americans assurances that SCIRI at Interior would not adopt policies that contradicted the security plans of the US military in Iraq.
I am told by a Washington contact that the SCIRI and Dawa representatives in Washington have indeed begun getting a warm reception at the White House, and that the Bush team is so pragmatic that they are willing to deal with these Shiite religious parties despite the concerns of some that they are too close to Iran.
The negotiations between Jaafari and the Sunni bloc led by Ghazi al-Yawir collapsed on Sunday. The Sunni Arabs began by demanding 10 ministries, but then said they would accept 7, with one of them being a central cabinet post such as Interior. Jaafari declined to offer them what they demanded. They then said they recognized Jaafari’s right to form a government based on the Shiite majority in parliament rather than a government of national unity.
Likewise, al-Zaman says that the most recent round of negotiations between Jaafari and Allawi’s Iraqiyah list also collapsed. Allawi will not serve in the new government nor will his bloc have any cabinet posts. Allawi did not confirm this news.
Another source told al-Zaman that the leaks to the press about parties being excluded were deliberate attempts to put pressure on one party or another. (This is my impression, as well).
Ash-Sharq al-Awsat/ DPA are reporting that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is insisting that Sunnis be included in the new government (a report coming via Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum, a former member of the Interim Governing Council).
Actually, Shiite governments have ruled what is now Iraq in the past, including the Buyids and, in the South later on, the Musha`sha`. The Shiite Safavids ruled Iraq in the late 1500s and early 1600s under Shah Abbas. A mixed Sunni-Shiite government conquered and ruled Iraq under Nadir Shah in the mid-18th century.