Jaafari seeks Party Re-Vote on his Candidacy
AP reports that Ibrahim Jaafari, nominated in February for a second term as prime minister by the United Iraqi Alliance (Shiite religious parties), has agreed that a party convocation should reconsider his candidacy on Saturday. The meeting of parliament planned for that day has been put off. AP quotes Mahmoud Osman, a Kurdish independent, as saying that what made the difference in Jaafari’s new flexibility was the visit to Najaf of UN envoy Ashraf Qazi, implying that Kofi Annan managed to convince Sistani to intervene to resolve the gridlock in forming a new government. Sistani will not have wanted to intervene in details of governance such as the nominee for prime minister. But he is said to be extremely alarmed by the rising sectarian violence and displacement, and may have finally stepped in. He appears to have hit on a compromise that would allow him to avoid choosing the prime minister, which Sistani would consider undemocratic. That is to reconvene the parliamentarians of the United Iraqi Alliance and have a second vote. But remember that Jaafari could still win it. That outcome seems a little unlikely, though.
The chief candidates of the UIA now seem to be Jawad al-Maliki, a long-time Dawa Party activist exiled for decades to Syria, and Ali al-Adib of the Dawa Party’s Tehran branch. It is so amusing that the saviors of the Bush administration’s political process in Iraq are beholden either to Syria or Iran– Bush’s chief targets for demonization– for their political survival in the Saddam years.
It is not as if, anyway, the formation of a government will have any impact on the ongoing guerrilla and civil wars.
Al-Hayat reports that [Ar.] Iraqi government security forces maintain that guerrillas from Ramadi have infiltrated Adhamiyah, a district of Baghdad, and are smuggling in arms. There are allegations that large amounts of weaponry were being brrought in.
Jonathan Steele of the Guardian reports that Baghdad mosques have become vigilante weapons warehouses. Most mosques have a militia attached.
Jonathan Finer of the Washington Post profiles the al-Hakim and al-Sadr clerical families, their history, and the current rivalry between Abdul Aziz and Muqtada. It has great information on family ties and clerical intermarriages. Bravo!
58 percent of Americans now say the Iraq War was unnecessary. News Flash: 42 percent of Americans are not paying attention.
The Saudi foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal,, has called for the de-nuclearization of both Iran and Israel. Israel has a stockpile of hundreds of nuclear weapons. Iran has none.